Yesterday tens of thousands of transgender persons and their families, allies, and supporters attended Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) events around the world. Since the beginning of TDOR, the annual events have featured a reciting of the names of those who were murdered through the year. It’s a lengthy list each time, with more than 220 of them for this year’s event (I’m hedging, because some counting sites disagree on the exact number of murdered).
But hearing the names is an abstract exercise. We hear the names read out like a gazetteer of sadness and pain in this world, and we go home. This article (linked below) by the Advocate contains the stories of a small sample of those who fell this last year, removed from this world by the evil of mankind. Twenty-four women; about one-tenth of the fallen.
Please if you click on one post today, click on this one. Read a bit about these sisters and brothers of ours, and make their unintended sacrifice concrete within your heart.
Transgender Day of Remembrance: Those We’ve Lost in 2014 | Advocate.com.
Or at least that’s how the news spun it. In reality, what happened was this: transgender rights protesters took control of a busy intersection in Hollywood, California, linking arms, chanting, and refusing to let traffic cross. Eventually someone not involved with the protest took umbrage, and came up to hit one of the transgender protesters. The assailant tried to flee, but was instead grabbed by a protester and someone watching, taken over off-balance and rather efficiently sideways-pile-drivered into a car.
I’d say “well done”, as they seemed to manage the assault pretty darned well, but overall we can’t be happy at violence on TDOR. It’s clear that blocking busy intersections is going to get a reaction, and unfortunately one must be ready for whatever reaction may come.
VIDEO: Fight breaks out at transgender protest against violence | Watch the video – Yahoo News.
I don’t normally include essays from cisgender people about transgender people in my reading list, but Shane’a Thomas had some interesting turns of phrase and passion which indicate to me that even though, as he says, “I will not pretend that I have “been there” or “done that,” even if I do belong to one of the letters in the rainbow acronym.”
Take a minute from your day to read the essay – I’ll include a couple of good quotes.
As a cisgender person, I constantly have to work toward trans* awareness in my teaching and in my language. Why? Because I see and respect being trans* as the purest form of existence. The trans* person’s awe-inspiring ability to take the broken pieces of our society’s systems of social construct and fit them together to create a complete human being is beyond my ability to understand.
Trans* people are being executed in broad daylight, and as human beings, these deaths are our legacy. Evil is no longer hiding in the shadows of night or in a closed space. What do I do to create safety for trans* folks around me? These violent deaths happen due to the failure of the living to provide safety. The loss of a trans* person, whose gender expression is one of the purest forms of expression of self, true self, inside and out, is a loss to anyone who claims that they are human. Saving a life and providing safety is earning your keep and the privilege to say you are human.
Lessons From My First Transgender Day of Remembrance | Shane’a Thomas.
In this editorial Dana Beyer talks about how Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) has rapidly gained popularity and acceptance across the nation. For example – would you have imagined, on this 15th TDOR, that the Secretary of State would make a statement supporting transgender persons?
Our TDOR event in Kansas City was larger this year than last, despite bitterly cold weather, and was very well-done, featuring live music from local musicians and a several well-done speeches. When I went to my first TDOR last year, I had barely dipped my toes in the community. I was only in transition for 4 months and only knew a few other transpersons. Even though I knew I was part of this new and vibrant community, I still felt like an outsider.
This time I knew half the crowd there, and knew the stories of many of the women – their triumphs and tragedies. I felt safe and like I belonged, like there was a connection, a thin net of silver cords connecting me to every person at the gathering, and it was a wonderful and sad feeling at the same time.
The Growing Importance of Trans Remembrance | Dana Beyer.