The estimated life expectancy for a trans woman is 35 years old; why?

Marsha+P.+Johnson%2C+a+transgender+woman+and+activist+who+%E2%80%9Cthrew+the+first+stone%E2%80%9D+at+the+Stonewall+riots.

Marsha P. Johnson, a transgender woman and activist who “threw the first stone” at the Stonewall riots.

The average life expectancy for a transgender woman is only 35 years old. This is obviously a shocking and disturbing fact at first glance; however, when you examine the facts, it (unfortunately) begins to make sense.

Most of the time, violence against trans women is committed out of fear. Fear of us lurking in the women’s restroom, fear of us interacting with their children and most of all, the primal fear of something that they don’t understand.

2020 was the most violent year for hate crimes and murders against genderqueer people, claiming 42 deaths. 2021 is already stacking up to be even more violent, claiming 37 genderqueer victims of hate crimes.

Ever since 2013 (when violence against trans people began to be tracked), violence has increased every single year. Most of this violence is directed at genderqueer people of color.

And these figures are only violence against genderqueer people from other people. Another important aspect is mental health. 60% of genderqueer youths have engaged in self harm, and 40% have seriously considered suicide. This is (once again, unfortunately) not shocking, especially considering the amount of hatred and aggression that trans people face in their day to day lives.

I give you all these bleak statistics and dreary figures to emphasize how important it is for MRHS to be a safe space for trans women, and queer people in general. In 2021, we need that space more than ever.

Even personally, at my small time within Monomoy I’ve had a less than optimal experience regarding my status as a transgender women with both peers and the system itself. For example, being called slurs when greeting people and telling them my pronouns, or the school system not allowing me to use the women’s restroom.

To get input on how we can make this school safer for everyone under the queer umbrella, I’ve interviewed Kristina Tamasco (she/her), our schools’ GSA president.  When asked what MHRS staff could do to make the school a safer space for queer students, Tamasco said, “Things like visual and one on one support from teachers is lacking, as well as a general knowledge of state wide and district wide acceptance legislation… We feel as if we continue to inform our peers and teachers on these subjects we could make a serious dent in bigotry across our district,” Tamasco added.

When asked about her message to transphobic/homophobic staff in our school, she replied, “I’m happy to say our support for the LGBTQ+ community in our building is incredible. This year alone we have had ample amount of support from staff, like Ms. Wheaton who works endlessly to create a library with progressive literature and history.” Her message to queerphobic students? “And our students? They are unmatched! We have about 35 members in GSA currently and it’s ever growing. We are not going anywhere, and sooner or later you will not be able to ignore us.”

You heard her; everyone deserves to feel safe in our school system, no matter what. Queer rights are human rights, and nobody deserves to not exist just because you don’t understand. You never know if somebody you’re talking to might be a closeted queer. Always be mindful of what you say, no matter who you say it to.