Tag Archives: trans day of remembrance

Transgender Day of Remembrance

Debbie says:

2020 hasn’t just been a miserable year of pandemic, police murder, and poverty — it has also been an extremely violent year in our violent society. The murder rate is rising in most cities, and when the murder rate rises, murders of trans people rise faster.

So we can’t ignore Trans Day of Remembrance. Heath Owens and Adam Schubak, writing for Elle, provide a list with pictures of the 34 (!) identifiably trans people murdered this year, whose names we should know. One of them is Tony McDade, whose murder by police got some attention, but that he was trans was not often mentioned.

I like to pick one person from these lists of loss, and put my mind on an individual, rather than a wall of names.

So I randomly picked Riah Milton (photograph above). Here’s what they say about her:

Riah Milton, 25, loved to travel and be outdoors, her mother, Tracey Milton, told the Cincinnati Enquirer. “She just wanted to be accepted for who she was,” her mother said.

She’s beautiful, she looks very thoughtful in that picture, and her mother clearly accepted her as who she wanted to be. She should be around to enjoy that. I would like to have known her.

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Transgender Day of Remembrance/Resilience

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Laurie and Debbie say:

Trans people, especially trans women, and especially trans women of color are at great risk of personal violence. In the United States right now, the president and his administration are seriously threatening to erase the legal existence of all trans people.

So Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoR) must be honored. TDoR has been observed for almost 20 years, and began in response to the murders of Black trans women Rita Hester and Chanelle Pickett. In 2015, an organization called BreakOUT! in New Orleans founded Trans Day of Resilience to bring celebration in along with the grief and anger. This year BreakOUT! is partnering with Forward Together, and they’ve asked that folks “honor trans and nonbinary lives by sharing our art with your community today.”

Four posters for this year can be found at the Forward Together link. Check them all out, plus others from past years. Our selection, above, is by Ashleigh Shackelford in collaboration with SNaP Co. Here’s Shackelford’s artist statement:

We are Black, fat, trans, non-binary, and queer. We’re here, and we will not be invalidated, erased, or ignored. Trans Day of Resilience is about changing the narrative around Black trans folks and our experiences. This project is necessary and game-changing because Black death is constant, and Black trans death is the crux of that. Our safety cannot exist in a system designed to kill us.

Black death mobilizes most of our movements. However, when we talk about the nuances of our identities, our trauma, and how our existence is so much more than our death and tragedies – that’s when we begin the work to build a world without cages, a world with healthy boundaries. We must center and affirm Black trans people in all of our movements and within our visioning of liberation. We must transform our work and ourselves to create a Black trans future.

My piece centers Black trans sex workers of different sizes and deep complexions. I created this piece to celebrate, highlight, honor, humanize, and defend Black sex workers of trans experience. My specific focus as an artist, and as a regular degular fat bitch just tryna get free, is to uplift and create visibility for Black fat folks – especially Black fat hoes, bad bitches, and survivors. This piece was done digitally with inspirations from Atlanta (‘The Black Queer Mecca’) and the Black babes of trans experience who are constantly finding ways to survive a system created to destroy them.

SNaP Co.’s statement can be found at the link.

By the time you read this, it may not be Trans Day of Resilience where you are. Don’t let that stop you from sharing this art, and this message.