Remembering We’re Living

Posted by – November 19, 2004

On the eve of TG Day of Remembrance, it’s bothering me that the only international recognition of transness is in the all-too-brutal murders of transpeople. What Gwen Smith has created in the Remembering Our Dead project is vital work: vital because these transpeople are murdered out of hate, often brutally, and way too frequently, their killers are not found, or not prosecuted. Historically and politically, Remembering Our Dead is a project that is both emotionally powerful and sympathetic; it reminds me, most often, of the AIDS Memorial Quilt.

That said, I meet with all sorts of living, struggling transpeople every day. And while you could say that the other 364 days are theirs, we all know that’s not quite true. What we all need – other than to mourn our dead and keep vigils for justice – is a way of simultaneously recognizing the great progress in the trans community among the living, so I propose a supplement to Gwen Smith’s brilliant work: The Remember We’re Living Celebration.

What I foresee is that transgroups stand up and honor their own members by having a kind of New Year’s: by asking each of us to stand up and cite one piece of progress, or a victory, we experienced in the past year. The closeted CD could cite his recent decision to come out to his wife. The out CD might celebrate her involvement with a GLBT charity group. The transitioning sister could tell us how close to the end of her Real Life test she is. And the transitioned woman might share in what ways she’s helped her sisters coming up. Transmen might point to their months on T, coming out (usually for the 2nd time) to their friends and families, or rallying with their transwoman sisters at Camp Trans.

We all struggle within this community; some of us within relationships, some of us with loneliness. But my feeling is that I would put my last dollar on a bet that says we have all accomplished something, whether private or public or both, which could use a round of applause.

I would love to see the vigils for Remembering Our Dead morph into living transpeople testifying to their own successes, their own beauty, their own victories. I would like to see the GLBT papers cover these events and have something other than gruesome deaths to report.

If you think this is a good idea, pass this message on.

For now, we’re asking every transperson who receives this message to send us a note, via the MHB message boards, or leave a comment here, noting one victory, success, or piece of happiness they’ve achieved in the last year concerning their transness.

Helen Boyd

1 Comment on Remembering We’re Living

  1. […] event for the first time. I’ve been reluctant to speak at one for a long time because, as I’ve written in the past, I find it depressing that transphobic violence is the most visible face of the trans community, […]

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