On Monday, November 20th, communities around the country will commemorate Transgender Day of Remembrance, a day that is dedicated to honoring transgender people we have lost to transphobic violence.
The week leading up to that day is recognized as Transgender Awareness Week, when we lift up the voices of transgender people as well as the hurdles transgender people face, like discrimination. That’s why this week, we’re highlighting an open letter from New Hampshire police dispatcher Jess MacFadzen, who has experienced discrimination as well as acceptance during her 27 years of service.
Jess was able to turn around a challenging time in her life and her career because of the strong support she received from allies—and the strength she drew from finally raising her own voice. For Transgender Awareness Week and Transgender Day of Remembrance, she’s urging fellow transgender Granite Staters and allies to raise their own voices, and speak out about why they support #TransBillNH.
You can read more of Jess’s story on our Voices page. Her letter full letter commemorating Transgender Awareness Week and Transgender Day of Remembrance is below.
Transgender Day of Remembrance is a time to honor transgender people who have lost their lives, making the ultimate sacrifice just by being who they are.
But we should honor them not just by remembering their sacrifice, but by continuing the work of advancing our freedom and dignity. One of the ways we do that is by not letting the fear of violence silence us.
Since beginning my life as my true self I have experienced total rejection and threats of violence, but also full acceptance. Acceptance should be something all transgender people can feel, but for many it won’t happen until we are explicitly protected by the law.
That’s why I’m speaking out, because transgender voices are the best tool we have for advancing laws like #TransBillNH that will protect us from discrimination and violence.
My worst experience with discrimination—as well my best experience with acceptance—came in my job as a New Hampshire state police dispatcher. The 27 years I’ve spent on the force sadly haven’t always been happy ones. Earlier in my career I faced daily cruel jokes about the fact that I’m transgender, until a couple of very supportive coworkers stood up for me.
Now, not only am I working as the woman I’ve always known myself to be, I’m accepted for who I am. I even got to help craft the Transgender Employee Policy now used by the Department of Safety. None of this would have happened if I hadn’t spoken up, and if others hadn’t spoken up for me.
So whether you’re a transgender person, a family member of a transgender person, or a friend and advocate, for Transgender Day of Remembrance, you have a role to play.
Help us build a safer world, free from anti-transgender discrimination and violence, by sharing why you support #TransBillNH.