Remember We’re Living 2009

As many people probably already know, I’ve never been thrilled with the idea of Transgender Day of Remembrance as the public face of the trans community. It’s just a little too “bring out your dead” for me. That doesn’t mean the too violent deaths of trans people every year doesn’t sicken and anger me – it does, maybe too much. I hate that we – trans people & those who love them – live so often in fear, and fear for just our bodily safety.

(& Before anyone gets up my ass about my use of the word “we” please look at the deaths of Taysia Elzy and Michael Green – Taysia was trans, & Michael was her boyfriend, & they were both murdered. About 1:12 on the video I posted yesterday.)

I suggested many moons ago that we also have a “Remember We’re Living” Day of Trans Pride / Celebration, where we recount the successes and victories and loves and kindnesses we’ve experienced. I’ve been really happy to see the week before TDOR has become Transgender Awareness Week in a lot of places, even if it still ends with our deaths. Maybe we could start the week with our deaths instead, so that we can end on an optimistic note? Anyway: this year, I’d like to recognize a close friend’s accomplishments because she recently got tenure for the 2nd time, and is well-respected within her field and by her students. I’d also like to recognize a close friend who, despite numerous health risks and problems, survived and is thriving after her surgery. My own lovely partner got a job she’s quite happy doing. A lovely woman on our boards was recently asked by her parents for a new photo of her for their mantle. Another person on our boards came out to her kids not long ago and did so with grace and aplomb. There are so many of these cool things that happen to trans people, and because of trans people, every single day & every single year.

It is the conviction to live your life as you need to – and the remarkable grace under fire – demonstrated by trans people that inspires those of us who are not trans. Every single day passes where someone, somewhere, notices that they are living their own life of quiet desperation, or are otherwise living quietly and without rocking anyone’s boat in ways that feel wrong. But when that person – or any person – meets a trans person who lives truthfully and with love and humor and loss, it is hard for them to ignore the unbelievable beauty & fortitude you all emanate.

So for that, thank you.

6 Replies to “Remember We’re Living 2009”

  1. Maybe remembering the dead is a way of feeling like a victim and convincing others you’re victims? I agree with you. Celebrating life and especially successes will send the message transpeople are healthy and normal, and while deserving civil rights, under the Civil Rights Act, would ensure we’re equal in consideration as everyone else. To me, your suggestion and the Civil Rights law would defuse any opposition. But always holding up the dead, and often how they died, keeps transpeople victims and less deserving of the protection everyone else has, but then fight for rights and protections as an identified class of people.

    I think when the transcommunity gets through the focus on the dead, maybe they can focus on the living and the successes, maybe they then get protections everyone else knows and has. This has long been proposed by former Senator Bill Bradley.

  2. Yes!

    I do believe that TDoR serves a need, both awareness outside the community and a catharsis within, as people come together to face fears that we can all empathize with. We need to balance that with hope, and I think the events that I’ve seen that have spoken loudest are when people come together to acknowledge the weakness and sometimes hopelessness they feel, and leave together, feeling a part of something larger and supportive.

    But absolutely, there also needs to be a time set to celebrate trans lives. Something to work toward.

  3. I always thought, the outward manifestions of gender are important, but what really counts is your abilities, and your chance to creatively express them. I am dating somebody in transition, who has a demanding job of floor manager in a discount chain. At the end of the day, if she can help people do a good job, have a constructive day, and be respected as women, she can smile. I think she has her priorities right.

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