The Violence of Forgetting

Today, November 20th, is Transgender Day of Remembrance. While I can get cynical and frustrated with November 11th ceremonies mourning and honouring those who died in “noble” wars, this remembering is different. Queen Emily and Little Light both have great, informative posts about what it is we’re talking about here, about the violence that is going ignored and about the emotional impact of all of that violence.

Although Little Light emphasizes that this is not about raising awareness or promoting a face of public acceptability, and although this day serves a particular, sacred function within the trans community, as a cissexual woman looking at the cissexual world, I can’t help but feel that “remembrance” is an incredibly inadequate term. Because in all honesty, it’s not so much that we’ve forgotten this kind of hatred and violence or the individuals who have suffered from it, it’s that we’ve systematically refused to notice their humanity in the first place.

There’s a violence to ignoring, to obscuring, to the peaceful maintenance of order and emphatic refusal to mention the “problems”, and it goes hand in hand with physical violence, dehumanization, intimidation and hatred. There’s a violence to invisibility. There’s a violence to forgetting.

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One thought on “The Violence of Forgetting

  1. There is also a violence in the promotion of moral codes that judge and exclude our fellow human beings for the crime of being different. And there is a violence in not challenging such preachers in whatever ways we can.

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