This letter has been compiled by a group of local trans people and is being hosted by Notts Trans Hub. It does not represent the views of all trans people, or the official position of Notts Trans Hub.
An Open Letter to Allies Regarding Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoR)
With TDoR coming up and a number of events being organised, we, as Nottinghamshire trans people, would like to remind organisers of the safer spaces guidelines and the problem of police presence.
Notts Trans Hub Safer Space Guidelines
These safer space guidelines are outlined not to be oppressive, but to keep trans people safer in a world often hostile to us. If people – especially people who are not trans themselves – are holding events without full community involvement and without showing willingness to take our safety into consideration by signing up to the guidelines, we cannot condone, co-organise or co-host these events that do not prioritise our safety.
A substantial group of our community members compiled these guidelines, with considerable consultation, and they are there to support allies to ensure their efforts do not inadvertently cause harm.
Police involvement and presence at TDoR events
Many members of our community have difficult histories and experiences with the police, and we are particularly troubled by police involvement in the organisation of Transgender Day of Remembrance. The people who are most vulnerable in our community, who face most violence and who we most need to include (for example, trans people, particularly women, from Black and Minority Ethnic backgrounds and trans sex workers) often have the most difficult relationship with the police. Laura Vermont*, one of the women whose life we remember this year, was murdered by the police. With this in mind, we feel strongly that police presence – much less police taking a central role in organisation – would be inappropriate at this event.
TDoR is a day to commemorate people murdered as a result of trans hate. The day belongs to the transgender community, but also within that we wish to stress the importance of ensuring those most marginalised among us and most at risk do not lose their voices on this day. If they cease to become the focus of our attention, or are left unheard, they become even more marginalised and vulnerable to violence.
- Onni Gust
- Jonathan Tait
- Robin Edwards
- Simone Jo
- Sam Hope
- Luke Hutchinson
Supplement: Some of those involved in putting together this letter also separately conducted a survey of the local trans community, in order to assist the Nottingham City event organisers. Key findings were:
- 24 trans respondents
- 14 “would rather agencies outside the trans community did not organise TDoR”
- Nearly half the respondents “would feel uncomfortable with official police presence/police logo on flyer”
Please use the form below to sign or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to put your name to this letter. You may do so privately or publicly.
*NB Laura Vermont was murdered in Brazil. The example is used here to highlight the need for police sensitivity around this event.