When a trans person dies, it makes headlines for a short while. Then, everyone forgets about it. They forget that 20% of trans people in Ontario have experienced transphobic physical violence, and that 70% of transgender youth in Canada have been victims of sexual harassment [pdf]. They forget that, in Toronto, researchers believe that over 25% of homeless youth are LGBTQ, yet one in three trans people is rejected from a homeless shelter based on their gender. They forget that trans women in Canada face a “constant risk” of violence. They forget that we often encounter difficulty and discrimination when trying to access healthcare, especially if we are Black, Indigenous, or other people of colour [pdf].
People may become aware of these realities if the media reports on a trans person’s murder or disappearance. But this context rarely informs other coverage of the issues facing our community.
Too often, cisgender writers and audiences fail to engage with transgender people and our pressing concerns. There are few (if any) trans people who are hired to write on subjects that directly concern us; there is little recognition of the roles played by trans people in the stories created around us; and there is no responsible coverage of the transgender community beyond our role as hypotheticals. In the eyes and words of cisgender media, trans people are sites of deviance and debate. Beyond that, they’ll hear nothing we have to say.