Red Deer’s Dana Moran recently attended services of remembrance for transgendered people in Edmonton and Calgary, and said there were stark reminders of the violence transgendered people often experience in society.
Moran, 63, underwent sexual reassignment surgery in 2005. After years of struggle and self-doubt, he consulted with an Edmonton specialist who was satisfied that Moran was eligible for reassignment.
“Being transgendered is becoming more of an open topic now, better understood and more widely known about,” she explained during a recent interview.
But the 17th annual Transgender Day of Remembrance last month brought to the forefront the disturbing reality that many in her community around the world face threats and violence.
In cities and towns around the world, folks gathered for the yearly commemoration of those who have lost their lives to violence. At each meeting, there’s a reading of the names of people murdered over the last 12 months because they were trans or gender diverse, said Moran. This year, the list had 271 names on it.
“It was time of reflection on the way the world can treat people,” said Moran.
“I’m getting to the point where I’m trying to be hopeful, but I’m seeing so many times where something has been started and it’s never gone through,” she said, referring to political bills like the recently passed Bill 7 in Alberta.
Those going through, and having gone through, sexual reassignment surgery, are in many ways in the spotlight these days with the ongoing revelations about Caitlyn Jenner (formerly Bruce Jenner), and his transitioning process to womanhood.
But of course there are huge differences between the resources Jenner has available to her and what is there for most of the transgender community.
“Where ever she goes, she has three or four bodyguards with her. The typical transgendered person is struggling to make ends meet, they can’t find a job, they’re having trouble finding housing and they’re suffering legal discrimination on both of those counts because they have no ‘rights’ protection for being transgendered.
“To see where Caitlyn Jenner (on TV) where her main concern during an episode was she wanted to play golf at her country club and the name on her membership still read Bruce Jenner,” she said.
“We just want to live our lives. We’d like to be left alone to lead our lives – we’re nothing special,” she said, adding she doesn’t suffer any acts of harassment but she knows people who do.
Regardless of the progress made about shining more light on the transgendered community, she is troubled about the violence aimed at the community in general internationally. “It’s often not reported to the police, and that person sometimes doesn’t want their family to know. There are in Edmonton and Calgary, LGBTQ alliances with the police departments which tends to help.”
Moran also noted that a new book, Every Class in Every School by Catherine Taylor and Tracey Peter sheds much light on the situation in Canada.
According to the web site, this report, “Discusses the results of a national survey of Canadian high school students undertaken in order to investigate what life at school is like for students with sexual or gender minority status. Egale Canada conducted a study that sought to identify the forms and extent of students’ experiences, and the efficacy of measures being taken by schools to combat these common forms of bullying.”
For Moran, beginning the process included counseling, hormonal therapy and living as a woman for one year prior to the operation. There was some post-operative recovery time during the 10-day stay in Montreal, then she was home. Moran will have to take hormone therapy for the rest of her life.
“I’m at the point where a lot of transgendered people get. And I’ve been at this point for quite awhile – I just want to be myself, go places, do things and I don’t want any problems – I don’t want any hassle.”