Transgender Awareness Week highlights education, barriers

Antionette Lee
November 14, 2018 - 5:47 pm
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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) —  Transgender Awareness Week takes place every year in November to educate people on the issues faced by the growing and diverse community. 

"There's such a lack of education on the issues and the barriers that trans identified folks face," said Francisco Cortes with Galaei, a Latinx social justice nonprofit in North Philadelphia. 

The week, which runs from Nov. 12 to 19, also leads up to the Transgender Day of Remembrance on Nov. 20. Participants memorialize victims of transphobia who have been murdered. 

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Milan Sherry, with the Trans Equity Project, says as a transgender woman she does not get to go home and "switch off".

"I'm not exempt from being targeted. I'm not exempt from being harassed. I'm not exempt from any of those things because these are our realities. These are the things that we face on a daily basis from the time we walk out our doors to the time we go inside our doors, and unfortunately even inside our own walls its not always safe," Sherry described.

Sherry says that's in addition to the insecurity of housing, healthcare, employment, and other basic necessities.

"A lot of time we make things about gender, class, and race, but at the end of the day, a lot of the things that were fighting for are human rights issues. Just as well as us, it could be you. I advocate across all spectrums," Sherry told KYW Newsradio.

Both Cortes and Sherry say one way to be an ally is to attend or volunteer at their free events this week. 

"Come with an open mind, an open heart and listen with the intent to understand versus the intent to respond," Sherry said. 

The week will kick off with a panel on Thursday and end with a rememberance rally on Tuesday. 

"There's been several cases locally and many nationally of trans identified individuals being murdered and their cases are still unsolved. So that's one of the things we want to do, demand for the DA's office to investigate these cases thoroughly until there is justice brought to the murders," Cortes said.

Organizers say in case of inclement weather, some events may be rescheduled. For the latest information log on to www.galaei.org.