Amnesty International Queensland LGBTQI Network commemorated Transgender Day of Remembrance with a candlelight vigil in memory of Mhelody Polan Bruno, transgender woman of colour who was recently murdered in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales.
Mhelody was just twenty five years old, worked hard as the sole breadwinner of her family, and was the celebrated beauty queen back home. Mhelody is sadly one of many transgender people who are killed annually in acts of transphobia.
Ella Ganza of the Runway Movement wrote and delivered a powerful call to action in her poem about violence against transgender people, specifically transgender women of colour:
You will find us at the cemetery, amongst the darkest secrets,
Our identity – unknown
An act of your violence, never to have been rescued.
We have been pushed to the bitter end
No longer seen as beings
Treated as monsters, ostracized & vilified.
Our purpose merely dreamt
A journey to have never left the beginning.
Our refuge is each other
A sanctuary where only we know the struggle
An equation with no answer
Left without a formula.
We walk high because we have to
Our battle scars are concealed, primed, contoured.
You are forced to see only what we allow you to see,
Our beauty, luscious body, ravishing hair, enticing features and our statuesque physiques.
A femininity that has been built of a lifetime of pain, hate, rejection, discrimination. Marginalised even in our own community, silenced in that very rainbow. How are we to celebrate when the victory isn’t ours.
Trans women of colour, yes us.
Tired of losing sisters to the colonial supremacy.
Does our fantasy ever become a reality?
Will we ever be rid of the trauma???
Do we ever reach acceptance
Why not now? When will this day come? How will it happen? Who?
The answer is YOU. All of YOU.
Help us, liberate us, stand with us. Our sisterhood is how we trans women have survived through the years. But the question is do you accept us as part of your sisterhood?
Ella Ganza is a transgender activist and founder of Runway Movement, a collective of queer people of colour from all parts of Brisbane who aim to make a difference through art, advocacy and creating platforms for queer people of colour.
Transgender Day of Remembrance is an annual observance that honours the memory of the transgender people whose lives were lost in acts of transphobic violence. The past twelve months have seen over three hundred transgender and gender diverse people reported as murdered, globally. This figure confirms we are experiencing the highest era of violence against transgender people in history. These statistics are likely to be much higher in reality and do not count those who have lost their lives to suicide, either, consolidated by the National LGBTI Health Alliance. It is now more important than ever for all of us to stand together with transgender people who are fighting for their human rights.
You can join the Amnesty International Queensland LGBTQI Network to take action to protect the human rights of all LGBTQI people.