Trans Day of Remembrance. These deaths are not a tragedy.

TDORSite

Vicky Thompson, a 21-year-old trans woman has died after being placed in an all-male prison. This news, sadly and yet ironically, was announced on the evening before Trans Day of Remembrance (TDOR) 2015, and a week after a petition was started for another trans woman to be moved from a male prison.

TDOR is marked annually on November 20th across the world to remember the lives of trans people who have been killed at the hands of anti-transgender violence and hate. ‘Transgender’, more commonly shortened to ‘trans’, is a word used to describe individuals who don’t identify with the gender they were labelled at birth. This year alone 271 murders have been reported, the majority trans women of colour, and trans youth aged 21 and under. This number does not even include those who took their own lives, or those who were not recognised at the time of their death as being the gender they felt.

Vicky Thompson’s death comes after another trans woman petitioned to be moved from an all male prison. Tara Hudson, a 26-year-old trans woman, was sentenced and placed in Bristol prison earlier this year. Her mother, Jackie Brooklyn, feared for her safety and well being as the only female in a men’s prison. The petition received over 150,000 signatures and media attention, since then Ms Hudson has been moved to a female prison. This is now leading to questions about the legality of holding transgender inmates in prisons that don’t reflect their gender identity.

Had Vicky Thompson been in a female prison she may still be alive today.

However these deaths are not a tragedy, one life lost would be tragic, 271 is a humanitarian issue that needs to be dealt with. The number of trans people being murdered is not going down either; in fact it is going up from 226[1] reported murders last year. How many more deaths and acts of violence will it take for change to happen?

Going through the list of trans people who have been brutally murdered makes for an horrific read, with one woman’s body being cut up and parts being boiled on the kitchen stove. No one deserves to die like this, and certainly not for being true to themselves.

Governments and societies across the world need to protect trans lives and recognise them as people with the same level of rights as anyone else. We live in a world where it is still legal to fire someone for changing their gender, to deny the use of the bathroom, and the right to stay married.

We need to educate people and realise our differences are not something we should ostracize ourselves over, but instead come together to learn from and appreciate the characteristics that make us who we are, no matter what these differences are – gender, sexuality, race, religion, ethnicity, creed, or ability.

Shakespeare summarised what it is to be human in his play The Merchant of Venice though the character Shylock, a Jewish man living in a predominantly Christian era. In Shylock’s famous monologue he states, “If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die?”

These three questions still are still relevant today and capture what is means to be diverse and yet the same, human.

It is my hope that soon there won’t be the need for a Trans Day of Remembrance or an International Coming Out Day. It would be fantastic if in the next few years we look back on these days and wonder why we ever needed these days. But the realist in me knows that this is a farfetched dream and we are nowhere near that point.

This year has been branded the year of all things trans, with celebrity figures such as Caitlyn Jenner coming out, movies being released with trans narratives. But are we doing it the right way? Stonewall the movie, released earlier this year, supposedly depicted the Stonewall riots which transformed LGBT history, however the film conveniently left out trans women of colour who were at the forefront of the movement. Trans people are dying, and we are erasing their existence. If I sound angry, it is because I am. Trans people deserve for their voices to be heard, their stories to be told in their own words, to express themselves without fear of judgement or abuse.

[1] Source: http://www.transrespect-transphobia.org/en_US/tvt-project/tmm-results/tdor-2014.htm

 

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My dear friend, Procrastination, is no longer a friend.

Hi! *waves frantically*

It has been over a year since I’ve blogged here and I miss it and all the wonderful WordPress blogs out there. So I am back, and in the words of Take That, I am back for good. I aim to review the films I watch more and talk about cinema in general, as well as boosting the overall quality. So, expect to see more dear reader.

Another area that I want to work on this year is a documentary that I’ve been hoping to make, but procrastination got the better of me. The documentary would be about dyslexia and Asperger’s and how this relates to creativity. But, I’ll post more on this later, for now it’s back to essay writing.

 

 

 

A ramble on falling in and out of love with film

Since watching Cloud Atlas, which I sill haven’t blogged about, I have found it hard to sit through a movie. I started by taking a break from movies, I was on a movie ban since I wasn’t getting much uni work done. Often I would watch a movie a day. To me, perhaps movies are a distraction, an escape from the world and being captivated in an alternative world. Maybe this is why I love movies, I would say film is a passion of mine.

But I temporarily fell out of love with film and with movies. Taking a break from blogging and all the movie watching, I had a chance to get out a bit more. Instead of being a film obsessed recluse I got a bit more of a social life and began working on some other projects. I caught up on some university assignments, developed my social skills – met new people, stayed out later, went traveling, took a lot of pi ctures (will upload to Stay Smirt).

I’ve had fun, but it’s time to get back in the swing of things. Coming back to regular life, especially now that the Easter holiday is over, I am starting to fall back in love with the world of film. Last night I watched The Intouchables/Untouchabe, the French film with Francois Cluzet and Omar Sy. It was brilliant, reminded me of the Bollywood movie Guzaarish, in fact it was so brilliant I may just have to blog about it.

After all film is my first love, and they say you never forget your first love…

Update 8 – Blog on not blogging, and falling out of love with movies

The blog has been neglected. I was shocked to see just now that I haven’t posted since February – and that was a reblog…

I would say University has been the distraction, but that’s not entirely it. I have been taking a break from movies, the last full movie I watched was Cloud Atlas. Which I haven’t written about yet…BUT it was awesome!

I’ve been lazy and I have also fallen out of love with movies, however, I am working on some projects at the moment and a new blog discussing more than movies. The documentary I mentioned in previous posts is still something I want to work on and hope to begin working on that in my 2nd or 3rd year at Uni.

I really hope that I can get properly back into watching movies and blogging soon because this is something I usually really enjoy doing…

 

 

Jewish Mum of the Year

Good evening folks (or morning/afternoon – depending where you are from)

Jewish Mum of the Year is a new TV show from Channel 4 that aired last Tuesday. In my opinion it is a brilliant concept, and from the first episode I already love it. To me, it’s basically The Apprentice with Jewish mothers instead of business people, but you could argue that these Jewish mums are business people in their own right. Instead of the winner receiving a job from Donald Trump or Lord Alan Sugar, the winners will receive the opportunity to be the agony aunt for The Jewish News.

There are eight contestants in the beginning. These women are all very different from each other; they are from different places around the UK, have different ideas on what being Jewish means to them and their families, they also range in how traditional or modern they are. It is so interesting.

Each week we will say goodbye to one of these mums, based on how they manage and cope with the tasks given to them, they will judged by Dovid Katz and Tracy-Ann Oberman.

Last week their task was to execute a Bar Mitzvah, and tonight the task is matchmaking. I have tonight’s’ episode on record at the moment so I can watch it without interruptions from adverts but am going to watch it as soon as this post is finished. I urge you to check it out either on Channel 4 at 9pm Tuesdays or on 4oD – link below:

http://www.channel4.com/programmes/jewish-mum-of-the-year

I hope this exciting program continues in the future. Perhaps with a twist, for example, Indian mums or gay parents…? I don’t know, just throwing ideas out there; wouldn’t want this show to become boring or unoriginal but I think it could be taken further.

Have a smirt day 🙂

EDIT: My mistake, last week we said goodbye to two mums.

Ponderings of The Smirt Kid: why I don’t like 3D, much

This blog is well overdue. If you have read some of my previous posts you will most likely be aware of my opinion on 3D cinema. In this post I want to explain further and share my reasons with you.

Why don’t I like 3D cinema? Well my first reason is quite simple and I am sure many of you will have the same frustration. I wear glasses. So having to wear the 3D glasses on top of my own is an uncomfortable inconvenience. The same principle goes for 3D TV, having to wear 3D glasses in front of your own TV just seems ridiculous to me. 

I watched the last Harry Potter movie in the cinema when it was released, the regular showing was sold but since we were all there, I agreed to watch the 3D version. It was a huge disappointment, the 3D made no difference to the movie, the parts that did have 3D effects were pointless and made no impact on the audience. This brings me onto my next point, a 3D movie only works if it was intended to be in 3D. Re-releasing movies is a good business strategy, since the cinema charge more for 3D than regular film, but it just doesn’t work as well.

That being said, this summer I watched The Amazing Spider-man in 3D and thought it was great, I really enjoyed it; to the extent that in parts I was on the edge of my seat and forgot that I was wearing the extra pair of glasses. There were two moments that I found the 3D effects were an essential part of this movie; when Peter Parker sees the spiders in the lab for the first time, and when he is swinging through the city from beams with the help of the construction workers. This movie totally changed my opinion of 3D cinema.

Overall, I think it’s developing – a work in progress. I look forward to the day when glasses won’t be needed, when the technology is incorporated into the cinema or TV screen. But for now, we shall just have to wait and see.