“I always turned up in trousers but I felt repressed and for me wearing a skirt was about expressing my freedom over who I am inside and not how society sees me.
These are the words of 17 year old Maria Muniz, a transgender student at College of Saint Kitts Pedro II , located in Brazil. Sadly, the school administrators were not happy, and fined her.
She was fined because she failed to fit into culturally prescribed gender roles. These roles inform how men and women are supposed to act and what they are supposed to wear. Deviation from these gender roles is viewed as improper and unacceptable. Yet the question remains: Why? What purpose is served? Her choice to wear a skirt is not an issue of morality, nor one of ethics. All she sought to do was express her right-the freedom of expression, which is a right held by all human beings, and for that she was penalized. She was effectively told “No, your comfort and happiness is not as important as following cultural norms”. I say “FUCK those cultural norms” Muniz wanted nothing more than increase her personal comfort and happiness. Her actions harmed no one. This is reason #491085 why rigid gender roles are not healthy for society- they stifle human expression.
This story has a happy ending though, the school backed down after a group of male and female students decided to show their support for Muniz by wearing skirts to school.
Way to show support folks. Good job.
Violence against trans people is huge problem and is widespread. In early 2014, the Transgender Violence Tracking Portal (TVTP) released its first report, tracking 102 incidents of transgender related violence. 10% of the incidents were suffered by transgender youth:
According to an update sent out from TVTP, 10 percent of the 102 acts were suffered by transgender youth:
- An 8-year-old boy was beaten to death by his father
- A 14-year-old was strangled to death and stuffed under a bed
- Two 16-year-olds were shot to death
- Three 18-year-olds were stabbed to death, dismembered or shot
- Two 18-year-olds were murdered with no details being reported
- An 18-year-old suffered two violent attacks by a mob and survived
Among the 102-person figure that comes in from 14 countries worldwide, “36 persons were shot multiple times, 14 stabbed multiple times, 11 were beaten to death, three were burned to death, three dismembered/mutilated, and two were tortured, two were strangled, one was hanged, one had her throat cut and one was stoned to death.”
For more information on TVTP, as well as violence against trans women and men, see the Transviolence Tracker.