Back on February 20 I was in a discussion with another activist about the number of people we have lost to anti trans violence. When she started listing the number of people who have died so far this year, she included someone who died because of a fatal silicone pumping incident.
That started a debate between the both of us in regards to whether people who die from silicone pumping should be recognized at a TDOR event.
I argued NO, and here are my reasons why..
The reason the TDOR was founded by Gwen Smith in the first place back in 1999 was because we had an epidemic at the time of trans murders, no or blatantly transphobic and crappy coverage even from gay media about it, and we trans peeps were starting to forget the names of the deceased that dated back to the 70's.
That's why the TDOR was created. To memorialize the dead, ensure we didn't forget those people who were violently taken from us basically because they were living their trans lives, begin building a historical record that it was happening, create an event that would attract media coverage about the issue and give our allies a way to support us.
The event quickly went international because we live on all inhabited continents on this planet and anti-trans hate and violence is an international human rights issue.
While silicone pumping and the cis and trans people who die from it is a problematic issue that I have covered on these electronic pages since 2006, the fact remains that unlike a murder, the person who dies from silicone pumping, knows the potential risks of pumping, knows that people have died because of it, but still chose to do so.
The pumper may be charged with murder or a crime after the fact, but the pumper isn't forcing that person against their will to plunk down the money to undergo a procedure that they may not survive.
Silicone pumping deaths, like suicides, also generate their own media publicity, unlike trans murders.
A silicone pumping death shouldn't be elevated to TDOR list recognition. Just as with suicide deaths, they are a separate category from trans people being murdered for who they are, and it is what the Transgender Day of Remembrance needs to continue to focus on.
So why mess with the success of the TDOR or attempt to alter its Prime Directive?
So no, silicone pumping deaths do not need to be counted in TDOR stats, nor should they be recognized at a TDOR event now or into the future.