Charlotte Amelia Loh

On the 18th of January another trans woman took her life, this time in New Zealand, on Auckland’s North Shore. Her name was Charlotte Amelia Loh.

I’ve been trying to write this post since around then, but I’ve been hesitant because I don’t know what else I can say that hasn’t already been covered a million times before by a million trans women. Our deaths are so often punctuated with commentary around the causes and the culture and society we live in, but nothing changes, people don’t listen.

She was 22, two years older than I am. We started transition around the same age, she reported problems with uni, stress, and mental health that hit really close to home. It’s obvious that it doesn’t #GetBetter. We need to improve conditions now.

In her note she specifically asked not to be misgendered or to have her deadname used, but to no surprise her parents have done so. Because of laws around reporting suicides in New Zealand (this post could literally cost me a $1000 fine because I mentioned her name and that it was a suicide) media are calling it a “sudden death”. No discussion will be generated from this, the culture that kills us will continue to do so and we will be swept under the rug.

Her funeral is tomorrow, Saturday the 24th, at the Manakau Memorial Gardens Chapel at 9.30am. There’s a vigil in Albert Park at 7.30pm for the trans community, for people to pay their respects safely.


March in Remembrance of Leelah Alcorn and in Support of Gender Education in Schools

On Saturday 10 January 2015, from 2pm starting in QEII square in Britomart, Auckland CBD, a group of trans people and their allies will march in remembrance of Leelah Alcorn and in support of gender education in schools. The march will end in Aotea Square

Leelah Alcorn suffered massive abuse from her parents and bullying in schools, both influenced by the culture of transmisogyny our society operates under.

Currently sex and gender education is optional in NZ, with many principals believing they have no queer or trans students in their schools. ERO has no indicator in any of their reviews as to how safe and accepting schools are for queer and trans students. Young trans people suffer heightened rates of depression, self-harm, and suicide. They also report lowered rates of support from parents and friends, and heightened rates of fear of being harmed at school.

Teaching gender in schools will go a long way towards beginning to dismantle this culture of transphobia and transmisogyny, and improving the living conditions of trans youth in our country.

Join the march event page on Facebook, sign the petition to support gender education in schools, and be there on Saturday if you can.