This – 20.11 – is Transgender Day of Remembrance

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Remembrance of Transgender Individuals
Taken by Murder or through Taking their own life.
Act of Remembrance
Soon after the World mourns the loss of all who fell in the War between 1914 and 1918 as well as the fallen from all other Wars since, it is an other solemn day to reflect on with the 20 November Transgender Day of Remembrance.
During the Wars which disguise themselves by being hatred between Nations, there is another human context which seldom is considered but is responsible for the violation and murder of many fellow citizens and that is purely on the basis of their sexuality.
It was in times of War all differences were sought out and primarily it was homosexuals and the transgender population who were singled out after the Jewish people and other ethnically diverse people to kill.
They suffered just as abysmally as any Jewish person and we’re gathered up and included in mass genocide. Many countries can testify to the many thousands of their citizens who were taken and killed purely on the basis of their sexuality.
Now in 2014
The losses continue without War.
Every year more savage attacks and deaths are occurring through the basic ignorance and uncontrolled behavior of violent people.
They act alone and also together showing the worst prejudice of all,
the prejudice that cannot tolerate another human being who is different to them and shows their own hate to be their inadequacy and being unaccepting of difference.
Continuing Hidden
There is no doubt this continuing death toll is hidden and not discussed in the communities it happens in. Some of those countries where it is a crime to be Homosexual have even less tolerance for Transgender individuals.
The whole continent of Africa is in a dangerous conflict with itself.
With the fragility of each nation coming out of War and Oppression, of
dealing with continued exploitation and corruption or entering into further conflict and displacement the continent has many problems to deal with.
Africa at odds with Africa
The oppression and exploitation of Women continues to set back the future of Africa by Centuries. The aids epidemic and sexual history of Africa is a fundamental indicator of the fractured future progress of democratic freedom and Human Rights advances.

As part of the reasoning Nations offer within Africa offer for their state measure of control they resort to violence and prison when confronted with someone whose sexuality does not meet with their approval.
Far less than understanding the law given to us by The Lord to ‘Love thy Neighbour’ the persons who cannot understand basic Human Rights and fail to see the promise which providing Equality of Human Rights would have on them individually and collectively, go down the route of their forefathers and reject learning which God put us on this world to do.
We are here to learn Gods ways and accept the natural order of things and alleviate pain and suffering wherever it is found. We then should share it with others.
In Africa there is an inherent Law of justice written in everyone’s heart which is either suppressed or exploited. To exploit that Law everyone must respect their own family and then their neighbours family.
The breakdown of family in Africa is foremost a basic lack of resources to meet the modern world and it’s challenges. This breakdown is a legacy of colonial states and the imitation of Western corruption severely slowing down any advances with exploitation by the likes of China and American Universities believe it or not massive obstacles to self determination.
Some youth in Africa believe the modern worlds greatest inventions are weapons of Individual and mass destruction.
Weaponry is the least constructive thing at hand. It cannot create crops or medicine nor can weapons overthrow an enemy. The ‘enemy’ being fought is in the perpetrator themselves. The menace eats away at the perpetrator until they can themselves no longer bargain with their own demons.
They spread their disease quickly to others and hatred defines them despite the calls of acting for a higher authority.

Like the girl looking into the well The Lord is within us and it is without question the most compelling thing mankind can rely on.
You only have to recognize your own instincts for goodness that overwhelm any darkness that might arise and know the greater is willed by God in you.
Where else would it come from?

NI Human Rights Festival events include ‘The Plight of Congoleses Women’
at Crescent Arts Centre Belfast on 12 Dec 2014 a free event from 5.30 to 7.30pm being organized by Mimi Unamoyo (Empowering BME Women) and NICRAS see http://www.humanrightsfestivalni.com and info@humanrightsfestivalni.org Facebook is /nihrf twitter is @NIHRF or #
This also coincides with the worldpressphoto2014 visiting Belfast in which New Zealander Robin Hammond gave a talk on his campaigns in Africa putting on record the maltreatment of LGBT and Mental Health people with some very harrowing and starkly direct images of these areas and issues as found. If further information is of interest see http://www.robinhammond.co.uk and the other World Press Photo 2014 site http://www.worldpressphoto.org.uk
Which freely upload images for your own personal use.
Any images there can of course be obtained directly from the PhotogrPher credited. The use in conjunction with raising awareness is distinctly an advantage given the directness and the professionalism of the Photographers going to see for themselves and recording it.
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The mental Health Image above is from Robin Hammonds collection.

I have included at the foot of this blog a direct lift of text from http://www.stoprapeinconflict.org/dr_congo
This relates directly to the horrific abuse and sometimes death in conflict and in transit sometimes under the noses of the NGOs.
Europe in the Frame
Even in European countries it is treated as a hidden thing and through it being an indictment against any country seeing itself as forward thinking and a democracy, it is a taint on that countries psyche.

The intolerance is of course as all intolerances due to ignorance.

A basic lack of understanding is at the heart of most all fears and prejudices. They are formed in our heads and the teachings of the communities in which these acts occur are to blame for their contiuance.

Change must happen now and change can happen now.

TRANS RESPECT VERSUS TRANS PHOBIA
WORLDWIDE

THIS IS THE TITLE GIVEN TO THE NETWORK GROUP GLOBALLY
FOR A MORE TRANSPARENT AND INFORMED VIEW OF THE HUGE DIFFICULTIES AND PREJUDICES FACED ALL AROUND THE WORLD

Proof
The feelings for mankind are at the heart of this intolerance as are most gaps in our basic knowledge. Feelings of hatred eminate from the same biology of all of us, only in some it is a malfunction they cannot or will not recognise.

Even as medical advances are made to remove peoples suffering through sophisticated reading of medicines and human physiology there is a primitive lack in the human mind which needs radically confronted through the neurological examinations which conflict with our very existence.

There is no preordained instruction to eradicate anyone of difference.
Instead their is a preordained instruction to love thy neighbour.

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Transgender identity struggles with the many consideration within its community to try to find ways of communicating and Transgender Day of Remembrance is one significant bridge.
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This is a Human Rights blog devoted to Human Rights.
There is also a subsaharan African Website with many contacts and directions on the issues directly.
http://www.derechos.org/human-rights/afr/
There needs to be a bridge. It was at a service held to commemorate the losses of this and past years I was privileged to hear Francis Sheils speak for many thousands, hundreds of thousands of Transgender and LGBT community people who are continually facing prejudice simply on the basis of their sexuality.

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Here is the address on Sunday 16 November 2014 in Belfast by Francis Sheils.

Transgender Day of Remembrance 20/11/2014

In preparing what I was going to say today, I was reminded of a performance event I attended, delivered by an American Quaker friend of mine Peterson Toscano, who besides being a writer and performer is a noted biblical scholar, he also happens to be gay and was researching the Bible for evidence of a loving God who had created him and accepted him in his imperfection.

During this research he continually came across individuals who were not expressing the gender roles typical of their sex and expected at that time in their culture.
He gradually recognised that these individuals were transgressing and transcending the typical gender roles of their times.
One of the characters he examines is Joseph, the 2nd youngest son of Jacob, whose sons went on to found 10 of the 12 tribes of Israel.

Joseph is very different from his brothers, he is described in the text as troubled and having regular dreams. He is his father’s favourite son and he is given a garment by his dad a tetromathazine (please forgive my Hebrew), there is definitive description of the garment , nor meaning for the word tetromathazine.
This is the only place in Genesis where the word appears.
Anyway, one day Joseph is sent out by his father to deliver a message to his brothers, I think they were tending the sheep, and on seeing him the brothers set upon him and gave him a severe beating and tore the garments from him, covered it in his blood and sell him into slavery in Egypt.

Years pass and a famine comes, the crops fail and the brothers go to Egypt to get grain.
They meet Joseph, who by this stage is 2nd in command in Egypt and they don’t recognise him because of all the makeup, finery and jewellery.

What does Joseph do? He doesn’t exact vengeance which would have been the expected act of a Jewish male, an eye for an eye a tooth for a tooth.
No he acts like the mother hen and protects and feeds his family as only a mother hen would do.

Peterson researched and researched and finally came across the word tetromathazine in one other place, 2nd Samuel where it is used when King David gives his daughter Tamar the garment before she is defiled by her half brother.
It is very clear from this particular passage that the garment is a princess dress given to a virgin daughter on the eve of her wedding.

It is not hard to imagine the same violence being visited on Transgender women today, particularly women of colour, where they are beaten black and blue, their bodies defiled and their clothes destroyed in acts of fury.

I challenge anyone hearing that story not to think of TDoR in future when they hear any of the Lloyd Webber songs from ‘Joseph and his Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat’.

Transgender Day of Remembrance is marked each year on the 20th November.
It is the most solemn day of the Transgender calendar.
The day was first marked in the USA in November 1999 to remember those Transgender individuals killed due to prejudice or hatred.

The day raises awareness of hate violence against Transgender individuals, provides a space for public mourning and honours the lives of Transgender individuals who otherwise might be forgotten.
The day was founded in response to the transphobic murder of Rita Heesters on 28/11/1998.

The day is now marked world-wide and in 2013 was formally marked in over 180 cities in 30 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, North America and Oceania.

Between 1st October 2013 and 30th September 2014 there were 226 known victims of transphobic murder , not to mention the countless Transgender individuals who took their own lives by suicide that we don’t know of, rather than face the world as their true selves.
Research from a number of studies show that 40% of Transgender individuals attempt suicide at least once before seeking treatment for their Gender Dysphoria (the medical term for Transsexualism – the medical term for the condition that affects us).

Unfortunately for the first time since we began organising this service, we are aware of one young Transgender woman JORDAN HOWE who completed suicide in Northern Ireland earlier this year.

Her friend Capri will be reminding us later of this unique individual whose life was cut too short before she got the chance to let us all see her individual God given talents.

With her family’s permission We are specially dedicating our service today to her memory and ask that you remember her family particularly , that they find solace and can come to terms with their very sad loss when we come to our act of remembrance.

For the past 5 years Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoR) has been marked by events in Belfast on the actual day 20th November.

Last year for the 3rd time there was also a formal act of worship in All Souls Church in Belfast on the Sunday prior to the day.
We find ourselves gathered here again at the kind invitation of Rev. Chris and the Congregation of All Souls to remember our dead brothers and sisters, no longer with us just because of society’s attitudes towards us.

I want to take this opportunity to thank you all but particularly Linda Ballard for making such an effort to accept us into your midst and going out of your way to make us feel part of your community rather than apart from it.

I was at a service recently where the Minister told the story of an old man from Fermanagh who had to leave the family homestead that had been in the family from time immemorial and move into the town as he could no longer look after himself nor the “bastes”.

Anyway he takes his young granddaughter out to see the place and shows her round and he comes to the well that provided water for the family down through all the generations, they’re about to leave when the wee girl asks him, “ Granda, where does God Live?”
He lifts her up over the well and tells her to look down and asks her “What do you see?”
And he replies “ Well that’s where God lives , he lives in everyone of us”

As we move to the more solemn elements of our Remembrance Service today, Let us all remember that God lives in each one of us and in all of those Murdered Transgender individuals and those who have completed suicide.

That completes the address given by Francis Sheils.

The Service was a memorial in dedication of Jordan Howe.

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Innate Goodness
People have, I believe an innate sense of goodness which inhabits the same mind which has the latent urges of self or wider destruction.
This in Religious terms is accepting the flaws exist.

At the forefront of Nazism was a belief in the principle perfection which has
never had a rational nor any element of goodness.
Human nature carries us, not ultimate perfection. Hence our desire to express our community in societies of many shades, colours and unity.

The person who accepts the world for what it is can be truly accepting of all others. It was as Jesus asked of us to believe in the everlasting existence beyond our measure that has within us the ability to do no harm.

That is our simplest task and yet so many go against God and the natural law believing only they can define the world. They wish others to comply with their thoughts. God has not delivered anyone other than Jesus to speak to us. God in human form and we can take Gods wisdom to turn away from hatred and violence.

Nations have survived famine and climatic disaster with the main constituent being the assistance of other nations.

Under Gods law there is enough for all and their is a saying we are all equal under the Sun as we indisputably are under God.
No one can determine their time on earth.

From the record of the http://www.transrespect-transphobia.org website

TRANS MURDER MONITORING PROJECT TDOR 2014

1612 REPORTS OF MURDERED TRANSGENDER INDIVIDUALS IN

62 COUNTRIES SINCE JANUARY 2008

Murders have taken place in all major WORLD REGIONS

• including Africa, Asia, Central and South America, Europe, North America and Oceania

• In Europe there have been 90 killings in 13 countries.

• FROM JANUARY 2008 TO SEPTEMBER 2014 THERE HAVE BEEN 6 RECORDED
TRANSPHOBIC MOTIVATED MURDERS IN THE UK.

TDOR UPDATE 2014

226 REPORTED CASES OF REPORTED KILLINGS OF TRANSGENDER INDIVIDUALS IN THE LAST 12 MONTHS IN

26 COUNTRIES

TDOR 2014 UPDATE

TMM REPORTS THE HIGHEST NUMBER OF REPORTED MURDERS OF MINORS SINCE THE PROJECT BEGAN.

HALF HAVE BEEN UNDER 20

TDOR UPDATE 2014
AMONG THE MINORS MURDERED WERE:

A 13 YEAR OLD TRANS GIRL FOUND STRANGLED IN THE CITY OF
MACUBA IN BRAZIL JUNE 9TH 2014

A 14 YEAR OLD TRANS GIRL FOUND STRANGLED IN THE CITY OF IBIPORA ,BRAZIL OCTOBER 15TH 2014

16 YEAR OLD “DWAYNE JONES” WHO WAS KICKED OUT OF HER HOME
AGED 14, AND ON JULY 22ND 2014 ATTENDED FOR THE FIRST TIME A
PARTY IN FEMALE CLOTHING IN ST. JAMES , JAMAICA , WHERE SHE WAS CHASED AND BRUTALLY MURDERED BY PARTY-GOERS, WHO FORMED A MOB, WHEN THEY REALISED SHE WAS A TRANSGENDER PERSON

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Realisation
Help all who feel as Jordan Howe did find through talking to Professional Medical Advisors or through first step conversations with someone who is aware of the problems Transgender people face, find the strength to come to the conclusion they are equal to anyone they care to mention and have around them more who love them than would ever hate them.

In fact the people who are closest in your own society support you and continue to strive to make things better for everyone in their community and the world. You too are a part of that journey.
That is the vast majority of people’s standard reaction.
Because you cannot read it, or it is not apparent does not make it false.
The perception can be as damaging as the image it creates in your head.

A clear head may not be yours presently which is all the more reason to develop a conversation to get to the heart of your selfs journey.
There will be someone fully ware of the issues you are dealing with and can with a clear head guide you.
The fact is the ability to deal with issues that arise are becoming more clear to society and clarification of what is a complex part of ones identity is highly advanced given the right advice.

This in itself is not advice but a personal viewpoint which in itself seeks to guide you towards those with a very proven appreciation of Transgender identity and the advice is freely given.

A first point of call would be your own GP who should know specialist advisors and the service providers on Gender related issues.

http://www.transrespect-transphobia.org

The website mentioned above is primarily dealing with the issue of Public Information and Education.

There are other websites which will deal with the more direct issues of Transgender identity. The clear message is that there are very many aspects to the help and sharing concerns which can be addressed and dealt with by people whose experience far outweighs any individual. The raft of information is of itself something which can help greatly.

The fact is Trans respect versus Trans phobia is a means of creating Public awareness and is the paradigm, the model to communicate.
It has links to local groups and shares histories and a catalogue of very conscious experience on related Gender matters.

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For the memory of Jordan Howe TDoR 20 November 2014.

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The people who do not understand, simply do not understand.
It is up to society to adjust not the other way round.
Wherever you go in the world build bridges and take the message of inclusiveness with you. It is basically Gods Message.

Jesus sat down with all who he found to be vulnerable and ill at ease.
He assured them of the way of The Lord who would walk alongside and deliver them from all evil. It is Gods wish we talk amongst each other to know the way.

John Graham

20 November 2014

Belfast

Further events and Notices

SEXUAL ORIENTATION AWARENESS TRAINING

DATE
09/12/2014
TIME
12:00 pm – 2:00 pm
LOCATION
HERE NI, Belfast
PRICE
Free
CATEGORIES
Talks
EVENT DESCRIPTION
This training organised by HERE NI will give participants a chance to talk openly about sexual orientation, it will run through some of the effects of homophobia on LGBTQ people and will give participants valuable information on language, changing attitudes and how to be more inclusive.
To register for this event contact: cara.mccann@hereni.org by Friday 5th December.

TRANSGENDER RIGHTS ARE HUMAN RIGHTS

DATE
09/12/2014
TIME
4:00 pm – 6:30 pm
LOCATION
Long Gallery, Parliament Buildings Stormont, Belfast
PRICE
Free
CATEGORIES
Talks
EVENT DESCRIPTION
This transgender Human Rights mini conference presented by Focus: The Identity Trust will examine gender recog­nition legislation in the UK and the Republic of Ireland and will also examine all areas of the lives of transgender and intersex individuals where they experience difficulty in accessing and enjoying the same basic human rights as the rest of society. Meave Mc Laughlin MLA Chair of the Health committee and Focus Identity Trust are delighted to welcome keynote speakers Lord Carlile and Aengus O’Snodaigh TD, who both proposed the first ever gender recognition bills in their own jurisdiction.
To register for this event contact: info@thefocustrust.com

There are many many more events on so check out the website to see what you can engage with.

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Despite the war formally ending with a peace agreement almost a decade ago, the Democratic Republic of Congo continues to be embroiled in a violent and deadly conflict. Having claimed at least 5.4 million lives since the outbreak of war in 1998, the country has also received the unwelcome distinction as the rape capital of the world.

Its strategic importance, as well as bountiful natural resources—raw minerals, land, and fresh water—are a longstanding source of tension within the Congo. The 1994 Rwandan Genocide, which brought an influx of 1.5 million people over the border into North and South Kivu, exacerbated preexisting hostilities in the area. Disputes over citizenship and land ownership only compounded ethnic rivalries and weak governance structures.

“We are always send by our chiefs who tells us “Do this!” Despite your refusal they oblige you to do it; otherwise you will be beaten seriously. As a result, you will do it unwittingly. And you can even rape because of that.” Rape in War: Motives of Militia in DRC, United States Institute of Peace, 2010

Aging Congolese dictator Mobutu Sese Seko had been aggravating inequality among the population, throwing the country into a steep economic decline over time. An uprising born in the eastern provinces, supported by Rwanda and Uganda, seized the fragile moment and moved rapidly on the capital. Yet, new President Laurent Kabila soon gained the wrath of his foreign allies, embroiling the entire region into a continental war in 1998.

While a peace agreement in 2002 was to end to the fighting, violence still characterizes daily life. Especially in North and South Kivu provinces, Congolese rebels and foreign groups remain active and significant military operations by the state have been launched in recent years. In northeastern Province Orientale, there has been renewed fighting with the incursion of the Lord’s Resistance Army.

More than 400,000 women ages 15 to 49 experienced rape between 2006 and 2007 in the Democratic Republic of Congo. That is equivalent to 1,152 women raped every day, 48 women raped every hour, or four women raped every five minutes. If Numbers Could Scream: Estimates and Determinants of Sexual Violence in the Republic of the Congo, American Public Health Association, 2011

Efforts were made to demobilize and integrate fighters into a new Congolese force or reintegrate them into communities, yet the project has faced a massive challenge. Continuing violence provides an incentive to return to old allegiances, with numerous desertions from the army and program. The attraction of mineral wealth has posed an additional challenge and provided extra income to rebel groups, armed gangs, and major political players alike—further aggravating institutional disorder which provides ideal circumstances for committing widespread human rights violations without punishment.

Rape and gender violence in The Democratic Republic of Congo has been marked by extreme brutality including rape, gang rape, genital mutilation, sexual slavery, and insertion of objects into cavities.

“You know, [rape] is also because of the suffering from being hungry, not having anything, living like animals [tozovivre lokola banyama] … Even the dogs here eat better than us! We were hungry yesterday, today hungry and tomorrow hungry [nzala lobi, nzala lelo, nzala lisusu lobi]. Also when we get it, you should see it: look at this! [pointing to plate with dark fufu on the ground]. When we get something this is what we get. Not even the pigs would eat it. Also, is this food for soldiers in combat who have to walk long distances and carry heavy weapons? It also makes people angry and anger makes you want to do bad stuff. Rape is also part of that. But it is not good.” The Complexity of Violence: a critical analysis of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nordic Africa Institute, 2010

As the conflict is fought within communities, violence occurs mostly in homes, villages, and in the fields where people work. Communities are often targeted for conspiring with the enemy or are looted after a skirmish. The Congolese security forces have also been known to loot (and commit acts of sexual violence on the civilian population) due to unpaid salaries or during mutinies against officers. All sides in the conflict have committed systematic rape and gender violence including the foreign-backed groups, local rebels, community-based militia—the Mai Mai, as well as the Congolese state forces.

Reasons for rape by armed men, whether belonging to the government army, rebel group or foreign-backed group, are varied. These include systematic humiliation to counter men’s growing frustration at deteriorating status in society, to breed insecurity and fear in communities, and Mai Mai members have additionally stated that rape provides “magical powers” before combat.

The incidence of rape remains highest in areas where military operations take place, yet there has been a sharp rise in gender violence throughout the whole of the country. The severe gender imbalance, with prevailing impunity, has allowed for a society where rape is acceptable and unpunished. Domestic violence, rape by former troops living within communities, and by men in positions of power—including police officers—is common. Survivors still lack comprehensive support, and are often too ashamed and fearful to come forward.

“The majority of women were attacked in their own homes and most attacks happened during the evenings and nights. This pattern is in contrast to that found in other recent conflicts in Africa, where rape is reported primarily when women go out in search of water or firewood, when they are farming their fields or when their village is attacked.” Now the World is Without Me: An Investigation of Sexual Violence in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative & Oxfam, 2010

Data to document the prevalence of male rape is being gathered, yet male survivors are still often silent, with little access to medical or psychosocial support. Testimonies point to an increase of systematic male rape with military operations in 2009—the last push by Congo to remove foreign forces from the Kivu region.

Impunity reigns within the Democratic Republic of Congo, and despite the government’s acknowledgement that its own security forces constitute one of the main groups of perpetrators, comprehensive reforms to the security sector have not been enacted. Known perpetrators of mass human rights violations remain within the army and major hurdles remain to provide the Congolese with a security force that is a protector rather than an instigator of gender violence.

Best Wishes and Thank you for getting to the bottom of my blog completed this Transgender Day of Remembrance 2014.

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