On 20th November 2011, a Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoR) ceremony was held at the Sinthana Resort, Chiang Mai, Thailand.
The intention was to make a memorable event for transgender people all around the world who have been tortured and killed because of transphobia.
This year was the 13th anniversary of this international event. However, it is the first time Burmese transgender people have participated. The event was organized by Chiang Mai based LGBT rights activist group “Rainbow Colours. Homosexual people from Chiang Mai, crossdressers, transgender people from Burma, transgender people from the LGBT health and rights activist group ‘Mplus’ and people from Chiang Mai who were neither transgender nor homosexual but who respect human rights attended the ceremony, with a total of over 100 people in attendance.
At the beginning of the ceremony, the audience displayed their sadness by lighting candles and saying prayers for those who had died. Afterward, transgender people from Burma shared some personal tragic stories, about themselves and friends, who were hated by family members and neighbors, tortured and killed because of transphobia.
The event then continued with a solo dancing performance of a transgender person. Following this, a Burmese LGBT song entitled “We are the same” was sung by Yuri and Sin Pauk, and modern Western dance was performed by Shin Minn from a Burmese Dance group. The event then continued with more dance acts and performances such as a play entitled “Love is needed actually”, which is about society’s point of view of transgender people as sex slaves, and the complicated sex life behind married couples.
Rainbow Colours delivered a message about the human rights conditions of transgender people around the world. Afterwards, A Noi from Color Rainbow shared the history of the Transgender Day of Remembrance.
Naomi Fontanos, deputy in charge of S.T.R.A.P, which is an organization that works for transgender rights in the Philippines, shared brief messages about the movement to eradicate the discrimination of transgender people in the Philippines.
Naomi Fontanos stated that nowadays transgender people are being killed because of transphobia and she encouraged Burmese transgender people to hold hands together and fight for their human rights.
Due to transphobia, there were a total of 681 cases of transgender people being murdered worldwide from January 2008 to September 2011, a fact which was researched by the “Transrespect versus Transphobia Worldwide”. The World Health Organization (WHO) removed homosexuality, including gay males, from the list of mental disorders in 1991, but transgender people are still on the list and are considered as having a mental disorder.
In addition to WHO, an American psychologist organization put transgender people on their list of mental disorders. As a result of this discrimination, LGBT rights activists actively campaign for transgender rights on 20th November annually.