—–UPDATE ON OTTAWA TRANS DAY OF REMEMBRANCE —-
On this year’s Trans Day of Remembrance (TDOR) a group of about 15 folks walked over to the overpass facing the cop shop, where a “Remember Stonewall?” banner was hung. This banner was hung as a reminder that the Trans Day of Remembrance is about commemorating and celebrating the lives of our friends, families, and lovers. This includes trannies, genderqueers, gender-neutral folks, crossdressers, two-spirited folks, and anyone who’s gender presentation threatens the state, who have resisted to submit to targeted ID checks, arrests, and police brutality, and who have lost their freedom and their lives for doing so. Our Trans Day of Remembrance includes people like Duanna Johnson, who, after resisting police harassment, was brutally beaten by Memphis police. She had been publicly considering suing the cops when she was shot in the head, execution-style, in her own apartment. This trans persyn’s murder, like too many others, is suspicious and remains unsolved.
We want to remember and celebrate all the “gender deviants” who have been forced through the prison-industrial complex, those who’ve survived and those who haven’t. We want to remember and celebrate all the sex workers who have had to confront, and continue to confront, systematic repression on the part of the state and its police, all the while trying to survive in a society that seeks to erase them in one way or another.
We want to remember Stonewall, a few drag queens of colour sparked a general riot of queers and trannies against New York City’s bigoted police. We remember Sex Garage in Montreal. We remember the Compton Cafeteria riots, the people in the streets after Harvey Milk’s murder, and every other explosion of queer rage this society has done its best to forget. We want to remember that any improvement in living conditions we see in our communities today are, at least in part, the result of violent confrontations like these. We want to remember and celebrate the lives of ALL trans folks, including those brutalized, arrested, sexually assaulted, raped, and killed by cops. This includes those who fought back and those who continue to fight back. We want to remember and celebrate the stories of the thousands upon thousands of trannies who have gone unnamed and undocumented, who have survived and fought back against sexual harassment, rape, brutality, and murder – in their streets or in their homes, or while locked up in prisons or holding cells.
Let’s celebrate an unedited theirstory; let’s stop erasing lives.
As was demonstrated by the events at TDOR, the cops are not our friends. Specifically, the Ottawa cops have a recent history of targeted violence and sexual assault against women of colour (police brutality link) and insensitivity to queer-specific issues.
The two folks who were arrested at the TDOR have been released, and they are now in their respective homes. They were released with a variety of conditions, including a non-association with each other, which is a particularly emotionally trying and damaging condition for the state to impose on people who love each other.
When they were arrested, the cops justified it by claiming they were assessing the individuals’ mental health, that they were protecting these individuals by putting them in handcuffs, yanking them around violently, throwing them into the back of an police vehicle… At no time during their arrest, nor while they were being processed, were either of the individuals asked how they identified or what body-type they would prefer to be searched by. One individual was asked to take off their pants in a room with 5 or 6 cops, who were both male- and female-bodied.
Their next court date is December 20th, 2010, at 8:30 am, at 161 Elgin St. Come fill the courtroom and express your disgust with these charges!
We are encouraging folks to put pressure on the cops to drop the charges! Please call 613-236-1222, and express that you want to see the charges against the two individuals arrested at the Trans Day of Remembrance to be dropped.
The two folks arrested would also like to thank everyone (BIG TIME!!!) who came to the police station to protest their arrests, as well as those who were unable to make it but acted in solidarity in other ways. Without this, their arrests would have likely gone unnoticed. This is a strong community. Let’s continue strengthening connections, acting in solidarity with each other, and supporting one another.