Hello and good to see you all here today!
First of all a trigger warning, this text is about violence and attacks on trans people and general trans hostility.
There have been some news stories and headlines recently that have probably been quite upsetting, especially for queer trans people. For those who may have noticed little or nothing of this, and for those who have the privilege of not having to deal with this kind of news on a daily basis, here is some of what has happened collected together:
Sometimes it feels like the whole world hates us. Simply because we are trans, we are different. Because we are breaking down the idea of the world in two genders fixed from birth and freeing ourselves from stereotypical role clichés, we become a threat. While in the US alone around 240 anti-LGBT* bills have been proposed since the beginning of the year, most of them explicitly targeting trans youth, Russia dissolved the Sphere Foundation on 21 April.
The Kremlin’s stance on queer people and the trans community is no secret. Nevertheless, the news last week Thursday was like an ice-cold shower: the Sphere Fondation, the last major organisation supporting LGBTQIA* people in Russia, was liquidated by the court. Part of the reasoning behind the ruling was that the organisation had violated “traditional family values”.
While Russia succeeds in striking another blow against the last remaining queer network structures, the war of aggression on Ukraine is still continuing. And there, too, the situation for trans people is getting worse and worse, because men between 18 and 60 are still not allowed to leave the country. Trans women still have no legal possibility to leave the country if they still have old gender registrations or documents that do not match their identity. These women are denied their gender and identity by the state, even though they should be under special protection due to the ongoing Russian threat.
In the meantime, some self-organised shelters for trans people have been set up, the locations of which remain secret for security reasons. Unfortunately, there is a lack of almost everything, which is not least due to the deteriorating medical care in the country. As a result, hormones, which are urgently needed for trans people, are also becoming scarce.
What remains is the fear of being found, both by the Ukrainian and the Russian army. Therefore, for most of them there is only one recognisable option: crossing the border illegally.
In Germany, on the other hand, you can hear the Terf’S getting louder in many corners, these trans excluding radical feminists, to which, by the way, a certain A. Schwarzer also belongs. Schwarzer, believe that they neither have to accept trans people nor see them as part of their feminist struggle. Trans is reworked by them into an enemy image against which “real feminism” must stand. The arguments are about as outdated and ignorant as the last decades of Black’s “feminist work”. Feminism without trans people is not feminism!
But unfortunately it doesn’t stop at this verbal form of hatred. At the end of March, an act occurred in NRW in the city of Herne that is so cruel it takes one’s breath away: Three 13-year-old boys beat a 15-year-old girl so brutally and for so long that she fell into a coma and barely survived the whole thing. And this, simply because she is trans.
This report makes you stunned, makes you shake your head, maybe even makes you cry. When children who are not even of legal age commit an act driven by such hatred towards trans people, then this hatred must come from somewhere. Such a message breaks through the small colourful bubble that one has built up and in which one moves every day. You realise that you are perhaps not as safe as you feel. Just because the people around you love and accept you doesn’t mean that others do too. This realisation hurts and it makes you afraid. Since the story from Herne, I am again afraid of going home alone at night. It’s a feeling I haven’t had for a very long time. And I think much more often about all the murdered trans people, especially trans women of colour. In the last 14 years, over 4050 trans people have been murdered worldwide.
I knew that and I grieved every time I heard about one of those murders, and yet somehow it was further away. But since the story from Herne, I can’t stop thinking about it. Maybe because this time it’s about a child, or because it was right in Germany, I don’t know, but, I think about it and I’m incredibly grateful that this poor child doesn’t share the same fate as so many of our brothers and sisters. I am grateful that she is still alive and I am so incredibly angry at this world. I hope that this never has to happen again and I firmly believe that education and open conversations, whether with children or adults, can make a difference. I hope that with the replacement of the discriminatory TSG by a self-determination law, we will finally have fewer hurdles to be able to live as we are.
But I also want to be realistic and I know that this world is not a fair place and I know that I will still be afraid for some time when I walk home at night. Still, we are here, we are trans and no matter what happens, we will stay, even if sometimes it feels like the whole world hates us.
In solidarity with all queers in Russia and all trans people everywhere where they and their rights are restricted, in love with those who experience violence, in strength with all who stand up for us.
Last but not least, something less depressing: As you probably know, from 25 April to 01 May is Lesbian Visibility Week. With that in mind, lots of love goes out to all lesbian people listening to this! Feel free to give a hug if you like!
Thank you for listening!