On Transgender Day of Visibility 2018, remember Naomi Hersi
On the 18 March 2018, a black transgender woman called Naomi Hersi was killed in London. Her life was cut short because of hate and intolerance.
The media coverage of Naomi Hersi’s death has been described as a disgrace by LGBT charity Stonewall; a troubling reflection of how our society view and treat trans people – especially trans women of colour.
This is the time to change it. It’s time we listened and believed the voices of the trans community. It’s time to speak up, because their voices need to be heard, and their experiences validated.
I want to direct you to Travis Alabanza’s article recently published in Gal-Dem. Travis is a trans, non-binary person of colour. They are an actor, performer, activist and inspirational queer public figure.
Their piece about Naomi Hersi is beautiful, dark and deeply saddening. Please read this kindly and respectfully.
Dear Naomi: We Need To Say Her Name
I start this off with an apology. Not with theory. Or with text. Or with some grand introduction stating figures, and statistics, and identities and ideas. I do not think we have time for that. Every time I started to write a sentence like I’ve been taught to do my hand would jolt, or the words would feel stiff. It does not feel right to turn your name into another think piece; into another word or a phrase or an introduction ending in questions that everyone will always take as rhetorical. I’d rather be honest. I’d Rather just start with two words:
I’m sorry from the personal and the plural, that the world continues to fail you/us/those like us/you.
I’m sorry that I am saying this apology when we know the words should be coming from someone else’s mouth, but I needed you to hear them.
I’m sorry that these people will continue to use your name as only ever a statistic, a theory, an abstract, and then when presented with your power fall silence.
I’m sorry for the silence.
I’m sorry that even in your death you are misgendered. Not seen. Humiliated.
I’m sorry that it is only in death that they care.
I’m sorry that they applauded our death drops, but never care when we are dead.
I’m sorry that you warned us; that you told us this would come, and it did.
I’m sorry the world did not keep you safe, and see the treasure you were.
I’m sorry that this has happened before, and is happening now, and will happen again.
I’m sorry that they will celebrate us on stage, in boxes, within magazines, but punish us on the streets.
Naomi, I’m sorry.”
By Travis Alabanza
Read the full article on Gal-Dem:
If you’ve been directly affected by these issues or know of anyone suffering from similar causes, here are some helpful sites which you can reach out to:
We’ve also compiled a handy list of where to go for LBGTQ+ counselling services: