Even though 2015 was filled with historic visibility and awareness, we cannot forget that the Transgender community is still being dehumanized. In 2015, 22 trans women were murdered, and addressing the violence against the transgender community is the next milestone for the LGBTQ civil rights movement.
Discrimination, malicious behavior and bigotry against the transgender community has reached a lethal level, and it must be ended. I know that there are people in this country that would like to see harm come to me and my community, and it's because they don't understand who we are.
Many of these intolerant people have developed preconceived notions that are bias portrayals and opinions of our community. The result of their ignorant bigotry has led to verbal and physical attacks, affecting the mental health of trans people, and many times ending in the loss of trans lives.
Transphobia causes real harm to the person I am and other members of my community. Of the 22 murders in 2015 the majority of victims were women of color. The number of deaths in 2015 exceeds the number of trans women killed in the US in 2014. However, neither of the 15 deaths in 2014 or 22 deaths in 2015 totals accounts for individuals whose deaths were not reported to law enforcement, investigated by authorities, or for victims who were misgendered and not regarded as trans women in death.
When you find yourself asking the question what change will I bring about in 2016, I say become involved in the transgender community. Join us and take action for freedom and justice. Our presence can't be ignored because we are everywhere, on the streets and in the media building our dreams. We are giving hope and showing the possibilities. Instead of relying on faux political correctness. Real and meaningful institutional change must occur.
Always remember when joining the fight for freedom and justice, we are prying open the front door of freedom allowing the sunshine to enter and locking the back door on injustice to keep the darkness of misunderstanding, bigotry, hate, character assassination and physical violence out but allowing the sunshine in. This is important to help those who've fallen through the cracks of a marginalized life, giving them a new chapter to write with empathy and compassion.
Today I implore you to join the revolutionary movement towards freedom and justice for all transgender people.