March 31st is the International Transgender Day of Visibility - a day for Trans folks worldwide to be seen for who they are.  This year, we would like to emphasize the importance of lifting up Transgender people in forensics.  We believe that, whenever possible, people from marginalized communities should lead the way in resolving issues that affect the communities to which they belong.  We also believe that our cisgender allies can and should help us do this in some specific ways.

Earlier this week, Trans Doe Task Force co-founder Dr. Redgrave gave a guest lecture to an anthropology class at Michigan State University about the Trans Doe Task Force and what the students might be able to do to dismantle the systemic postmortem violence that occurs often when Transgender people die.  During the lecture, Dr. Redgrave shared information from his dissertation that illustrated the struggles that people who belong to marginalized groups face. Out of the people interviewed for Dr. Redgrave's study who have a non-cisgender identity, 50% of these respondents stated that they experienced violence or hostility from others.  Transgender people also expressed that they wished others would ask them questions rather than make assumptions about them.

The Trans Doe Task Force encourages Transgender professionals in fields that overlap with human identification to step forward, be seen, and use your experiential authority alongside your professional position to dismantle harmful practices which perpetuate the mishandling and de-prioritization of cases of fatal violence towards Transgender people.  We also encourage cisgender professionals to support the work of their Transgender colleagues, listen to what they have to contribute, help to showcase their work, and give them opportunities to lead projects.  This includes stepping aside or stepping down where needed so as to give the platform or leadership role to a Trans professional. The systemic issues that continue to harm Transgender people after their deaths can only be solved through the collaborative efforts of those of us who are still here. 

Thank you to the MSU Osteology and Forensic Anthropology class for having me present and for listening, and thank you to those students who will move on to being compassionate and change-oriented professionals.  If any other university classes, workplaces or organizations would like to have the Trans Doe Task Force present a lecture or workshop, please email us with your inquiry. We thank everyone who continues to support us and our work, as it is and will likely continue to be an uphill battle.

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