I’m not much for holidays. I don’t really care about auspicious dates. I give holiday and birthday gifts in the more-or-less right part of the year, but rarely on the right day. I have usually ignored Valentine’s Day. I think Halloween is for amateurs. I spent a few years trying hard to reclaim Passover for myself, but it has never really become a regular thing for me. I have always liked the idea of Yom Kippur, but I think about the things I’ve done wrong all year long.
I like to spread my celebrations around as needed. Isn’t every day alive in a world that is set up to grind us into the ground something to celebrate? I take myself out alone for a very good meal once a month or so. I did tonight. I had things to celebrate; little things, simple things. Sometimes the meal is to celebrate that I am not going hungry, that I am here. And I am.
But November 20 is the Transgender Day of Remembrance. It is the day we memorialize all of the people who have died in the last year because of anti-transgender violence.
On this day, we gather together, and we read The List. The list of names of people murdered because of transgender hatred is too long. Names come from every continent. I can’t help but imagine myself killed in each of their stories.
As long as it is, the list itself is literally too short. There are always bodies that did not even get the dignity of being counted.
By my own calculations, a trans person in the United States has a lifetime chance of being killed somewhere around seventeen times that of the average American.
The deaths multiply. There is no way of knowing how many people have been killed. We don’t even know how many of us there are. We aren’t counted in censuses. Trans people’s lives and deaths literally don’t count.
This Friday, I will be in Oakland. I will be standing. I will be there to be seen and to hear the names as they are called out. I will add myself to the too-small crowd that stands together to say it must stop. Maybe you will be there too. I will look for you.
Sometimes people think that this event is not for them because they are not transgendered. When thousands of straight people flock to anything having to do with marriage equality, it is especially sad to see no one at a TDOR memorial who is not a trans person or the lover of a trans person.
There is likely a memorial you could get to somewhere. Maybe you should. Maybe being there will make someone else there a little less scared. Maybe the size of the crowd will impress a would-be murderer with the reality that somebody really does care if that tranny dies. People are dying. The killing needs to stop. I will look for you.