Yesterday families across the country came together to give thanks for their many blessings. Unfortunately at a table in Syracuse, NY a seat went unfilled. A family is in pain and mourning this holiday season due to an unspeakable act, which unless you read lots of blogs, are from the Syracuse area or have a Google alert set up you probably haven’t heard about because it hasn’t been reported in the national media.
On November 14, 2008, Moses Cannon was killed in an apparent hate crime. Cannon, who went by the name Teish and identified as a female, was shot and killed because she was transgendered. The Syracuse police have issued a statement that the accused murderer and Teish had no prior arguments and that she was shot and killed “for the sole reason [that the accused] didn’t care for the sexual preference of our victim”. Our reaction upon hearing this news was one of deep sadness at the sheer cruelty and intolerance that human beings can exhibit, followed by a pure burning rage very similar to the emotion felt by millions after the passage of Proposition 8. Let’s first focus on the anger; we as a community used this anger to solidify ourselves into a national movement to protect the civil liberties lost by millions of Americans. We used this anger in a positive manner and we should never forget this. However, it’s the first set of emotions that will move us forward as a community. We need to remember the Harvey Milk’s, the Teish Cannon’s and all who suffered at the hands of intolerance before us. Most importantly, we need to remember the word intolerance. At the end of the day, this and all its consequences are what we’re fighting. As we head into our next 3 months of events, please remember that intolerance is what got us to this point and only compassion and understanding will get our point across as we fight a bitter and often emotional battle for our civil rights.
One really productive way you can pay respect to Teish Cannon is to help increase awareness around the T in LGBT. Even within our community a great deal of transphobia exists and many people don’t know anyone who is transgender to begin to understand. One of my favorite books, Transparent: Love, Family, and Living the T with Transgender Teenagers is a great way to increase you knowledge of what it means to be trans. There are also many great blogs out there to educate yourself with. If you have a favorite, share it!