Today is the ninth anniversary of the brutal murder of Gwen Araujo, killed by a group of “normal teenage” boys merely because she was transgendered. Much has changed in the nine years since. With the changes in military standards that previously banned homosexuals from military service…
I must digress. No, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was NOT the ban on gays in the military. That prohibition dates back to the Articles of War adopted by the military in 1916. Look it up. DADT was the rule change (albeit misguided) that made it possible for gays to qualify for military service by keeping their orientation private. (They used to ask you if you were gay in the multi-million-question entrance interview, DADT removed that question.) Technically, a simple repeal of DADT would have reinforced the original ban restricting gays from enlisting. I really wish people would quit calling the rule change that allows gays to openly enlist in military service the “repeal of DADT.” It drives me crazy, because it proves that we as a society can be fooled into anything. Sorry, back to my point.
… Chaz Bono making headlines as the first trans person to compete on Dancing With the Stars, the “It Gets Better” campaign, and the increasing attention on marriage equality; LGBT issues are at center stage in the great social debate. But with all this press, some things have not changed.
“According to the Transgender Day of Remembrance Web site, there have been 143 transgender homicides in 2009, and it is estimated that an anti-transgender murder occurs every three days.” Statistics suggest that those crimes increased by 23% in 2010. And in 2011, the same year we are watching Chaz on TV, a trans woman was brutally attacked in a Baltimore McDonald’s, because she needed to use the restroom. An employee on duty, opted to record the attack rather than get help. This does not even touch the continued high rate of suicides among trans youth, and the continued incidents of bullying directed toward the entire LGBT community. Something is still very wrong.
Can we fix it? I hope we can. It starts with remembering our past.