Laurie Toby Edison

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Transgender Day of Remembrance

Marlene says:

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.

4 Responses to “Transgender Day of Remembrance”

  1. Cameron says:

    I have honored the Transgender Day of Rememberance ever since it came to my attention some years ago…it horrified me and angered me, that people were being killed for being trans, for seeking to be who and what they are.
    This year is different.
    This year I have come out as trans myself.
    This year it just got WAY more personal.
    As you say…my name could be on that list.
    There is one event for TDOR in my state and it’s 400 miles away. I can’t get there. So…
    I posted to my Blog about TDOR, and made it a memorial and reminder to all who stumble across it.

    http://walkingthelabyrinth-cameron.blogspot.com/2009/11/transgender-day-of-rememberance.html

    What bothers me profoundly is that the deaths have doubled this year, and more than doubled!
    Why?
    Think about it…
    What will it be like next year?
    How can we make a difference?

  2. Marlene says:

    Cameron,

    The huge increase in numbers this year reflects better reporting. The number of murders in the US fell, but the list now includes numbers from places previously uncounted.

    The better reporting from Central and South America has contributed most to the overall number. I find the numbers from Brazil especially upsetting.

    On the whole, I would have to say that this increased number is a blessing not a curse.

  3. Cameron says:

    Well, yes and no…yes, because it indicates better reporting, better coverage and more awareness – which is the only way to create change and stop this madness. On the other hand, no, because that simply means the numbers were always this high, and are perhaps far higher – reporting is getting better, but how many of them are still missed, ignored or simply lie in an unknown grave somewhere – not likely in America, but very likely in other cultures.
    All in all, not reassuring.

  4. Marlene says:

    I couldn’t agree more.

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