Tag Archives: Transgender Day of Remembrance

Transgender Day of Remembrance 2019: And the List Goes On

Debbie says:

The Transgender Day of Remembrance official site is black today, with names, locations, and a little bit of information about each of the dead since November 21 of last year.

I just picked three at random:

Flavia Santana
Anapolis, Brazil
8-Mar-19
2019
strangled

Perla
São Paulo, Brazil
8-Mar-19
2019
shot

Renata Spencer
Tepeji Del Rio, Hidalgo, Mexico
9-Mar-19
2019
stoned

Trans people, especially trans women, and especially trans women of color are at great risk of personal violence. The United States is far from free of the taint of this danger, and certainly that won’t change as long as we have this president, or this party in power.

So Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoR) must be honored. TDoR has been observed for 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. BreakOUT! partners with Forward Together, and they ask that folks “honor trans and nonbinary lives by sharing our art with your community today.”  One piece from their front page is pictured above. Check out the rest. The artists are credited extensively, but not in connection with their pieces, so I don’t know who made this beautiful art. Here’s one artist bio:

féi hernandez is a Mexican trans non-binary immigrant spiritual healer, writer, actor, visual artist and graphic designer. They grew up undocumented in Inglewood, California and has continued community work through their writing and art. féi’s writing has been featured in NPR, Immigrant Review, Non Binary: Memoirs of Gender and Identity, The BreakBeat Poets Volume 4: LatiNEXT, Good Mood, Live Wire, and Hayden’s Ferry Issue 64. Their art work has been exhibit at Galería de La Raza, is featured in the Latino Book Review 2019, and is currently working on a digital collection of artwork for exhibit. They are currently the Art Director of Palms Up Academy and Lorenzana Services Inc. and teach Crafting Eternity, a writing class for developing writers in Los Angeles. féi has a forthcoming full-length poetry collection published through Sundress Publications on the intersections of race, identity, gender, the hood, immigration, and sexuality.

Remembrance and resilience, grief and joy, acknowledgment and resistance go hand in hand. It is a huge credit to the trans community that they and their allies celebrate these two days together.

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.

Transgender Day of Visibility: Yoon Ha Lee

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Laurie and Debbie say:

Today is the 10th annual Transgender Day of Visibility. In contrast to the better-known Transgender Day of Remembrance, TDOV, as created in 2009 by Rachel Crandall, focuses on the living. With a multitude of excellent choices in front of us, we decided to tell you about Yoon Ha Lee.

Yoon Ha Lee is a Korean-American science fiction and fantasy writer with a B.A. in math from Cornell University and an M.A. in math education from Stanford University. He mines his background in math for his stories and novels, including the acclaimed Machineries of Empire Series. Ninefox Gambit, the first Machineries of Empire novel, won the Locus Award for best first novel in 2017. He lives in Louisiana with his husband and daughter.

We always look for embodied writing here at Body Impolitic, and Yoon certainly delivers. Here’s an excerpt from his flash fiction piece, “The Mermaid’s Teeth”:

… the mermaid was possessed of great determination and creativity. She shaped her words through the tension of her throat, forced them into seduction-verses.

Through all this she combed out her hair. It was beautiful hair and she didn’t see why she should neglect it because of a little bad luck with a sailor. It hung heavy and dark and ripple-sheened. Her lovers had told her that they could see the colors of the sea caught in it, or luminous moon-weave; they had told her about its silk, its salt perfume, the way it tangled them almost as surely as her kisses. The mermaid kept a diary of these compliments, written in the vortices around her island. Only the most ardent and perceptive sailors could navigate those vortices to embrace her.

Ah: here came a sailor. She sang louder, tossing the comb toward him so that the sun flashed against its curve. I wear nothing but the salt spray, she sang. I am cold on my island. Also, as long as it has been for you, I guarantee that it has been longer for me. Come and clasp my cold limbs, come and help me comb out my hair, explore the tide pools of my body.

Richard Dutcher, friend of this blog and occasional poster, has this to say about Lee’s work:

Yoon Ha Lee’s fantasy and space opera are embedded in Korea’s culture and history (which is every bit as deep and complex as any Euro-American country’s). I know some small things about both, but nothing like what people raised in it do. That means I get to read stories unlike the hundreds I have read since I was 5. I don’t know how his characters are going to react, I don’t know what changes he is ringing on old themes, I don’t know what is going to happen! I love that.

For instance, his space-opera empires are built on technologies based on the control of calendars and time-keeping. I have no idea whether that concept comes from someplace in Korean culture, or from Yoon Ha Lee’s own fertile imagination–or both. Perhaps at some convention I will be able to ask him. In the meantime, he offers a sense of wonder I often miss in the tales from the cultures I know best!

Yoon is only one of many, many transpeople who should be more visible today — and every day.