While doing a short talk on 21st Century gender today, I felt I had to say something about the news that the WH will not be supporting trans students’ bathroom use.
Here’s a few things we know:
- the attempted suicide rate for trans people is 41%
- the Obergefell SCOTUS ruling legalizing same sex marriage correlates with a decrease in suicides by LGBTQ+ youth
- trans people are at risk of violence, bullying, and harassment in bathrooms, not cis people
- men do not to pretend to be trans or get more access to women to sexually assault them. rapists are usually known to their victims.
- men who do rape and sexually assault generally do not get convicted
- trans people do not sexually assault, harass, or bully cis people while in bathrooms
- there are approximately 150,000 students in the US who identify as trans
All of which, added up, means that this tiny, marginalized, misunderstood minority of trans people need safe access to bathrooms, that they need bathrooms to get an education, that there is little risk to cisgender students when trans students use the bathroom, and that this whole idea that this is about preventing violence against women or children is completely fucking ridiculous, unfounded, and frankly, insulting to every woman and every feminist and every survivor (including the male ones) of sexual violence in this goddamned country.
Love to all the trans people out there. I’m with you.
PayPal now has a cool option to create a donate link, so I did:
Recently I surprised a friend who was under the (incorrect) assumption that professors make a lot of money. They don’t. I’m not working for a non-profit, so I don’t get paid that way either. And while I’m happy that I get to do a lot of events of various kinds, even educators need to pay their bills.
So if you like what I do, consider donating.
Here’s a short list of what I do on the regular:
- run an online group for partners of trans people
- run the MHB community forums
- answer calls / find resources for people who need them
And here’s an idea of what I do in the space of a month:
- Talkback for tonight’s performance of Hydrogen Jukebox at Lawrence.
- Next Friday a cultural competency lecture on gender diversity, also at Lawrence
- Next Saturday a workshop on trans advocacy for trans families at the WI LGBTQ Summit
- I’ll be around to answer questions at an ‘I Am Jazz’ reading at the Appleton Public Library
- A few weeks later, I’ll do the keynote for a fundraiser for Rainbow Over Wisconsin.
Obviously when I do talk for organizations and companies, they pay me, but when I work for LGBTQ events, educational resources, or trans specific orgs, I don’t charge.
To all you beauties out there, you courageous resisters, you brick in hand angry queerios, you who are frightened but putting your boots on anyway, and for all of you, too, who are scared to death or who can’t stop crying and who are pretty sure you really can’t do this:
Remember your body. It’s going to be fucking with you. Every little fault line you’ve got, every weakness, whether it’s a lousy appetite or bad sinuses or a serious chronic condition. Your body is going to be yelling at you. Just remember your body feels all of the feels for you. None of us us are getting very good sleep, food has gone bland, and nothing is funny. It’s okay. It’s a hard time.
However you do it, take care of your beautiful selves. You can take it. I promise you can. We’re all going to feel physically bad because we are worrying about a lot. Engage your brain when that feels better. Indulge your body when that does. Honestly, I find myself shouting with tears in my eyes. There will be no consistency of emotion, no way to process, everything is coming at us too fast. That’s intentional on their part, but we’re complicated the way all beautiful things are: you can be furious and terrified at the same time, broken by the gorgeousness of a sunset and full of rage simultaneously.
If there is anything we can do, it’s feel deeply. That’s where our politics come from. Drink deeply. Love deeply. Allow this historical moment to find how intense your emotions can be, to find where that stark skeletal core of you is.
You are made of the sternest stuff, I promise. Keep on. Almost everyone around you feels the same way right now, unaware of what you might say, scared you might start crying while you’re laughing, unable to take even the slightest reprimand or even teasing from a friend but also desperate for it. You want to hug everyone even when you want to be alone, under the covers, with the vice of your choice. Take that time when you need it too. Eat all the motherfucking chocolate. Buy the good vibrator (but don’t be surprised, either, if your libido is on overdrive or dead in the water, or, on alternating days, both.)
We can do this. It’s okay to be scared when you’re sad, okay to be angry when you’re confused, okay to be tired every single minute of the day.For my fellow punk rockers out there: this is our time. We know how to do this. Live on rage, keep it moving forward, invent anything you need. DIY and fuck the lot of them. We got this.
Fight for the person next to you who maybe isn’t as strong or just isn’t up to it right now. They’ll do the same for you. Love to you all.
Apparently the news is reporting there were 250 people at an event I helped organize tonight, on the spur of the moment, in freezing cold weather, with absolutely no list of speakers or musical acts or anything.
For those who don’t know, I decided to do this while I was stuck in Detroit waiting for my flight here, having just been in NYC where everyone is worried; it is a city of immigrants, after all. After seeing so many other rallies planned for today, at SFO, SeaTac, JFK, Dulles, O’Hare, etc., I posted that I’d host a vigil at 7 on the LU chapel steps. I really assumed about 5 people would show up who happened to see it. I managed to message someone at the local paper about it and tagged a few people on my post who I thought might be interested.
But while I was on the plane — first stuck on the tarmac being de-iced and then flying — my colleague Jason created an event on FB and started inviting people. When I got home (finally!) at 6PM, folks had spread the invite far & wide – 1k people were invited! – and so many showed up. Again, I had no plan, except that Jason & I would speak & give out some info, & honestly, everyone else did the rest: folks made signs and brought enough candles to go around. Anyone I saw who I knew had spoken in public before I tapped to talk, and I otherwise opened the floor to anyone who wanted to speak or sing.
Chants started. “This Land Is Your Land” was sung. So was “If I Had a Hammer”. So were a few other songs I don’t know the names of. A local musician, a minister, LU students, a green bay teacher, employees of a local refugee relief org, a recent immigrant, a student here on a visa – all volunteered to speak. People read poetry. One student read a poem she’d written about her mom.
I’m flabbergasted and encouraged and grateful to live in this community that so spontaneously responded to what was just a need on my part, a need to stand up, in public, and say NO to this illegal and shitty treatment of people but to say NO too to an abuse of the ethics and founding idea of this country: that we are all immigrants, children of immigrants, grandkids of immigrants, and that yes, IMMIGRANTS GET THE JOB DONE.
Thank you so much, all of you, for not complaining about the chaos but by using your voices to make this what it was supposed to be: a public outpouring and coming together for all of us here who just needed to say NOT ON MY WATCH.
Love to you all tonight.
Stay tuned. This is only the beginning.
Yesterday, I saw that a relative of mine had posted this just as I was putting my photos of the Madison rally up. I was full of love and confidence and strength, so seeing this was like a punch in the gut. So I wrote this person a letter.
I saw your post today when I got back from the Madison march and it was like a punch to the gut. Because you’re family, and because I think you are both people who believe in love and kindness and charity, I really want to explain, if I can, what this was all about.
To me, yesterday was such a thing of beauty, and it makes me sad that you live in such a way that you can’t see it or feel it. It was like the very best church, the best picnic, the best party, all rolled into one.
I’m not sure I can ever relate how scary it’s been if you don’t feel that too. But for us, Trump is at best a bully, the kind you might have had to deal with yourselves in school and the kind you’d never want your kids to have to deal with. The stuff he’s said, the way he made fun of that reporter: I think it brought a lot of us back to a person or a time in our lives when we were made to feel afraid for being who we were. Maybe we knew what other people were making fun of. Maybe we didn’t even understand why we were being targeted. But we know the feeling of being afraid and alone in the face of a violent, mean bully, and we know how it feels to shake while you try to stand up for yourself.
And yesterday was a day when all of our friends showed up in that abandoned hallway where we’d been cornered, a day when that one kind teacher you could count on sent the bully away.
We know he’s not going anywhere. We know the bully is in charge now. We know a lot of us are going to get hurt, feel scared, and have our lunch money stolen.
In a sense, that’s all it was: just a brief pause to remind ourselves that eventually, enough of the kids who have been bullied do band together and punch back.
I’m glad if you’ve never needed that.
I’m glad for you if you’ve never experienced that.
I’m glad if it’s something none of your kids has ever faced.
I’m not going to get into the politics but I am going to say one thing: in everything I’ve been reading it seems obvious that we are all getting different information, that fake news sources are out there confirming the most extreme of what we all believe. But my request is this: don’t just laugh at us. Don’t just mock our fear and our anger. Find out what it is. Find out why we’re scared, who stands to lose rights, who is worried about their health insurance, whose marriage may be at risk, whose bodies, whose choices. We are not scared of nothing: queer folks, black folks, disabled folks, trans folks, immigrants – we face fear all the time. This is scarier than usual.
And while I’m sure, at some basic level, the differences between us are about the differences in politics – Republicans believe charity should be a private affair, and Dems feel that a government’s job is to provide care for the least able of us – I’m not sure I understand why or how anyone could laugh at a basic American right to protest, to gather, to remind ourselves that “we the people” doesn’t mean only those of us who can work or marry or bear children, doesn’t mean only the white, the straight, and the able-bodied, but all of us.
This is written in kindness, and with a hope that I might slow down your frustration and mockery of what yesterday was. I wish you could have been there. I wish you could have felt the love and the trust and the incredible feeling of community. It was amazing.
Don’t be the dwarves in The Last Battle. Come join the rest of us in Narnia. Onwards and Upwards.
I will be marching in Madison tomorrow.
I will be marching for the black women who raised me as a feminist. For the trans men and women with pussies and without. I will be marching for the interracial couples and families I love, for my friends in wheelchairs, for students with mental health issues. I will be marching for anyone who needs the ACA to stay alive and healthy. I will be marching for all of my LGBTQ+ family here and abroad.
I will be marching for the American heroes who have gone before me: Ida Wells and Eugene Debs, Malcolm X and Philip Randolph.
I will be marching for the trans men and women who lose their lives every year, for the Jewish Community Centers that have been dealing with bomb threats for weeks now, for the Muslim Centers who have received hate mail, for the NEH, the NEA, CPB, and the Office of Violence Against Women.
I will be marching because I can. I will march with Whitman’s barbaric yawp in my lungs.
The spotted hawk swoops by and accuses me, he complains of my gab and my loitering.
I too am not a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable,
I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world.
The last scud of day holds back for me,
It flings my likeness after the rest and true as any on the shadow’d wilds,
It coaxes me to the vapor and the dusk.
I depart as air, I shake my white locks at the runaway sun,
I effuse my flesh in eddies, and drift it in lacy jags.
I bequeath myself to the dirt to grow from the grass I love,
If you want me again look for me under your boot-soles.
You will hardly know who I am or what I mean,
But I shall be good health to you nevertheless,
And filter and fibre your blood.
Failing to fetch me at first keep encouraged,
Missing me one place search another,
I stop somewhere waiting for you.
I’ll be doing a workshop at the Wisconsin LGBTQ Summit in Milwaukee on February 25th. My session description goes like so:
Trans Advocacy for Trans Families
As a non-trans trans advocate, Helen Boyd has been educating trans and non-trans people alike for many years on issues of concern to the trans community. Topics will include: Trans 101 education, political activism, community membership, safe spaces. Special attention will be given to the diversity within the trans community – including partners, parents, and kids of trans people, as well as GNC and non-binary identities.
Helen Boyd is the author of two books about life with a trans partner, My Husband Betty and She’s Not the Man I Married. She’s been writing a blog about gender and trans issues for more than a decade, has spoken at numerous conferences, and currently teaches gender studies at Lawrence University.
Do register in time to reserve your spot. Other workshops include:
- Violence in the LGBTQ Community
- Intersectionality of Ethnicity & Gender: Where We Are Now, and Where We Need to Be
- Queering the Environmental Justice Movement
- LGBTQ Rights, School, Bullying, Law Enforcement, and You
- Challenges and Gifts of LGBTQ Seniors
- The Many Ways of Celebrating LGBTQ Spiritual and Religious Diversity
You can’t listen to the few words Joe Biden spoke when he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, with distinction, without realizing what deeply decent people we have had running this country.
At a moment when Moonlight, Fences, and Hidden Figures are in theatres.
At a moment when rights for trans people were really having an effect.
At a moment when the Pipeline protests caught the national attention and once again, Native Americans showed us how to respect our land and ourselves.
At a moment when everything seemed to be going something like right finally, when our national conversation about the prison pipeline and the deep patriotism of the Muslim parents of a fallen war hero reminded us of the worst and the best we can be as a nation — at that very moment, it all fell apart.
It hasn’t yet. The fumes of Obama’s legacy are what we’re running on now. It was only 8 years ago when the high hopes and inspired souls overjoyed so many of us; that we looked at each other with wide-eyed amazement as if to say can you believe we did this? And the rest of the world looked at the US with surprise and respect: we could be still be America. We were.
I don’t know what we’re going to become. That other America, the wretched one, the gilded mean one of bottom lines and wealthy excess, of poorer people making the groceries stretch a little longer, of a nervous middle class, what of it there still is, of people dying from medical conditions they might have survived in a more generous time.
This is going to be hard. We are going to suffer, as will the land, and the critters, and people we know and love and strangers we don’t know but might love if we knew them.
But this eight years that just passed is something for us to hang our hopes on. That other America that we’ve now all seen and experienced at least a little, a period where more people gained rights, not fewer. Where common sense actually counted. Where Black Lives Matter showed us all what the legacy of racism really means. Where some actions, and some words, convinced us all we were in this together.
So I’m going to keep saying it, as Obama did when he gave his farewell address: yes, we can.
And apparently we’re going to damn have to.
I just got back to Appleton after driving from here to LA with my wife. I left her there to act. To leap. To take another jump at the acting career she left behind when she transitioned. As she puts it, she made a deal with the universe: that it could have her acting career if she could sort out a decent life as a woman.
And it did, for a very long time. The film she made this summer, And Then There Was Eve, re-lit her spark, so we figured out a way to get her back to LA so she could see what she could see. We had so many kind people in our lives – not least of which is the musician Cory Chisel, who for reasons I can’t explain seems to like us – contribute to the fund that made it possible.
We’ve always lived a little on the knife’s edge but this would be a little more than usual: usually we leap between gigs, when a job has ceased to be, or when something else (trauma, transition) opened that metaphorical window where a door used to be. But this time, we got to leap because there are so many in our lives who wanted to help. A local magazine just did one of the finest stories about us I’ve ever read — which, if you notice, doesn’t mention our genders or sexuality or transness at all, which is so goddamn awesome I can’t even begin to tell you. A special thanks to Justus Poehls and David Aragon for such beautiful work.
At one point in our interview, Helen joked, “Every story begins with Rachel, and ends with Rachel, and she’s the whole middle of the story . . . I just occasionally show up.” They lovingly jostle, but it’s apparent after spending just a little while with them that the mettle of their relationship was forged in some serious hellfire. At another point, getting up to grab a drink, Rachel laughingly noted after a bit of repartee, “We have lots of ways to tell each other to fuck off.” Through the haze of their edgy humor, there’s this rare, almost tangible sense of their solidarity.
And for that? 2016 brought so much sadness and fear and isolation, even, too, but it also brought us all this love and kindness and cheer from so many people, from every stage of our lives.
Thank you. We are happy to be able to cheer whoever we can with our antics, our love, and the endless story of our ongoing relationship with each other, with gender, with life.
Onto 2017. Happy New Year.
The always awesome Bear Bergman started Flamingo Rampant a while back, which is a micro press that publishes beautiful LGBTQ books for kids.
Right now they’re raining money to publish the next set of books and they need your help. Donate if you can, or buy books.
These are a great, great gift for any LGBTQ child or family that you know.
There are times a tragedy is too great, the violence too unspeakable, for me to make any sense of it. There is none. So I retreat in the ways Catholicism taught me to, to be quiet and solitary and, simply, to challenge myself to feel more deeply, not less.
This song, the only kind of prayer I’ve ever felt in my bones, gets me there.
For all the souls who lost their lives in Aleppo yesterday, last week, in the past year.
Mic has introduced a new resource for tracking the murders of trans people. It includes murders in the US since 2010, only, but it does a little more digging into the statistics and how transness is “negotiated” not just by the reporting of these crimes but also by their representation in obituaries, the press, court cases, etc.
The actual database includes not just numbers but faces, info on rulings (if there is one), and can be filtered for year, age, race, gender, circumstances of death, and outcome.
The occasional pullquotes throughout are sobering, like this one: “People who kill black trans women and femmes are usually convicted of lesser charges than those who kill people of other trans identities.”
And this, from Shannon Minter: “Other factors contribute to underreporting. Minter said that while murders of trans women are visible and documented to some extent, those of transgender men may be harder to track. ‘I also think there’s a lot of unreported violence against transgender men that gets recorded just as violence against women,’ he said.”
And all of this is far more troublesome because the statistics are already so high, and yet:
But it’s difficult to know the full scale of the problem. When a transgender person is killed, each step in the process of accounting for their death risks erasing that person’s gender identity. Many can’t spare the expense of having their names and gender markers updated on government documents. Law enforcement and coroner’s offices are not trained to identify transgender victims. Immediate family members who reject a trans person’s identity often withhold it from authorities. When the press learns of these murders, local reporters often don’t have the knowledge or information to investigate whether the victims were trans. The United States Census does not track transgender people, and while the FBI added gender identity as a category in its annual self-reported hate crimes report in 2014, the agency does not track gender identity along with its homicide statistics.
Please take care of each other out there.
Here are some of intitial findings, about bathrooms:
- 59% have avoided bathrooms in the last year because they feared confrontations in public restrooms at work, at school, or in other places.
- 12% report that they have been harassed, attacked, or sexually assaulted in a bathroom in the last year.
- 31% have avoided drinking or eating so that they did not need to use the restroom in the last year.
- 24% report that someone told them they were using the wrong restroom or questioned their presence in the restroom in the last year.
9% report being denied access to the appropriate restroom in the last year.
- 8% report having a kidney or urinary tract infection, or another kidney-related medical issue, from avoiding restrooms in the last year.
A recording of the event will be made available after the launch for those who are unable to watch live.
A colleague from Boston published a horrible letter sent to a mosque there – I’m not going to reprint it, but it was filthy and evil – and my immediate thought was to send them a letter of love, of welcome, of inclusion.
And I mentioned that. And another colleague ran with the idea and created this amazing website that provides you with the places that have received this hateful letter and others like it. She’ll send a postcard for you if you’re out of stamps, even.
So in these days where the constant question is: what more can I do? Here’s another answer. I’ve already sent out a bunch.
This year it is a little harder to be thankful because of the worry in my heart and in my head. I’ve had nightmares for weeks now, and I see how utterly deflated and shattered so many people I love look. The joking on Facebook and in person all feels a little hollow, a little forced, but I’m glad for it all the time. So let me do this little thing, take the moment to see what is, what isn’t yet, what may never be.
I am thankful tonight to have been invited to a thanksgiving dinner by queer friends with their families. I am thankful to have a too-full belly, a warm house, a life companion, and four bundles of fur who share my home. I am thankful I will see more people I care about on Saturday.
I am thankful for the right to dissent.
I am thankful for the social justice activists in my life, especially the elders who haven’t lost hope and who know how to buckle down and get things done. I’m thankful for those younger than me, their energy and fire and keen sense of justice.
I am thankful for those who went to Standing Rock to support the Protectors, and I am very, very thankful for the Protectors.
I am thankful to have time to sit down and think about what I’m thankful for, that I am not so overworked that all I can do with my time off is sleep and eat.
I am thankful to have people in my life who look to me to help them through, and I am thankful for those who get me through in turn.
I am thankful for the love and support people have shown my wife as she embraces a new adventure.
I am thankful to have the memory of the decent people who raised me, my mother and father and grandmother, all of whom I miss every family holiday, but in whose memory I try to make the world a little less mean and a little less scary. I am thankful that both my parents exited this world while Obama was president, and that they were the kind of people who were overjoyed that we had managed such a remarkable thing.
I am thankful for anyone and everyone who has made room for me at their table in this place where I have no family but my wife. I am thankful for everyone who is gracious in being alone or lonely this holiday, and my heart goes out to you. I am thankful to the older man who walked by my house today, who I wished a happy thankgiving to, and who looked at the heart in my window and smiled and winked back at me.
I am thankful for all of you who have had to gather your resources and senses in the past few weeks, who have tried to understand what happened, who have called on me and others like us not to give in to despair. I am thankful for every hug offered or requested.
There are so many things to be thankful for. May we all remember in these coming months that we have enough for everyone to have a little peace and a little joy.
Happy Thanksgiving, all.
(I am not the poet. The poet is someone called e.c.c. Just found this one re-posted on a friend’s FB, & e.c.c.’s tumblr said you could share as long as they’re credited. So they are.)
Since you mention it, I think I will start that race war.
I could’ve swung either way? But now I’m definitely spending
the next 4 years converting your daughters to lesbianism;
I’m gonna eat all your guns. Swallow them lock stock and barrel
and spit bullet casings onto the dinner table;
I’ll give birth to an army of mixed-race babies.
With fathers from every continent and genders to outnumber the stars,
my legion of hapa babies will be intersectional as fuck
and your swastikas will not be enough to save you,
because real talk, you didn’t stop the future from coming.
You just delayed our coronation.
We have the same deviant haircuts we had yesterday;
we are still getting gay-married like nobody’s business
because it’s still nobody’s business;
there’s a Muslim kid in Kansas who has already written the schematic
for the robot that will steal your job in manufacturing,
and that robot? Will also be gay, so get used to it:
we didn’t manifest the mountain by speaking its name,
the buildings here are not on your side just because
you make them spray-painted accomplices.
These walls do not have genders and they all think you suck.
Even the earth found common ground with us in the way
you bootstrap across us both,
oh yeah: there will be signs, and rainbow-colored drum circles,
and folks arguing ideology until even I want to punch them
but I won’t, because they’re my family,
in that blood-of-the-covenant sense.
If you’ve never loved someone like that
you cannot outwaltz us, we have all the good dancers anyway.
I’ll confess I don’t know if I’m alive right now;
I haven’t heard my heart beat in days,
I keep holding my breath for the moment the plane goes down
and I have to save enough oxygen to get my friends through.
But I finally found the argument against suicide and it’s us.
We’re the effigies that haunt America’s nights harder
the longer they spend burning us,
we are scaring the shit out of people by spreading,
by refusing to die: what are we but a fire?
We know everything we do is so the kids after us
will be able to follow something towards safety;
what can I call us but lighthouse,
of course I’m terrified. Of course I’m a shroud.
And of course it’s not fair but rest assured,
anxious America, you brought your fists to a glitter fight.
This is a taco truck rally and all you have is cole slaw.
You cannot deport our minds; we won’t
hold funerals for our potential. We have always been
what makes America great.
From Gwen Smith, who founded Transgender Day of Remembrance back in 1999:
The 20th of November is a day set aside to honor those who we have lost due to anti-trans violence and hatred.
This year, we honor roughly 300 people from around the world. There’s likely many others we do not know, erased by their killers, and further erased by police, media, families, and others.
Anti-trans violence affects us all, trans or not. We need everyone to stand against it. Our right to exist is on the line. Anti-trans violence is also anti-black. It is also anti-sex worker. It is also anti-woman. Be intersectional.
In the U.S., we face a rollback on our rights, and face future laws against us, in the name of “safety.” We need to stand up & fight for *our* safety, our right to exist, our protections. We need to not let those we’ve lost die in vain.
In the United States, there have been as many as 27 known anti-trans murders since the last Transgender Day or remembrance.
• Monica Loera of Austin, Texas. Murdered 22 January, 2016.
• Jasmine Sierra of Bakersfield, California. Murdered 22 January, 2016.
• Kayden Clarke of Mesa, Arizona. Murdered 4 February, 2016.
• Veronica Banks Cano of San Antonio, Texas. Murdered 19 February, 2016.
• Maya Young of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Murdered 21 February, 2016.
• Demarkis Stansberry of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Murdered 27 February, 2016.
• Kedarie/Kandicee Johnson of Burlington, Iowa. Murdered 2 March, 2016.
• Quartney Davia Dawsonn-Yochum of Los Angeles, California. Murdered 23 March, 2016.
• Shante Isaac of Houston, Texas. Murdered on 10 April, 2016.
• Keyonna Blakeney of Rockville, Maryland. Murdered on 16 April, 2016.
• Tyreece Walker of Wichita, Kansa. Murdered on 1 May, 2016.
• Mercedes Successful of Haines City, Florida. Murdered on 15 May, 2016.
• Amos Beede of Burlington, Vermont. Murdered on 25 May, 2016.
• Goddess Diamond of New Orleans, Louisiana. Murdered on 5 June, 2016.
• Deeniquia Dodds of Washington D.C. Murdered on 13 July, 2016.
• Dee Whigam of Shubuta, Mississippi. Murdered on 23 July, 2016.
• Skye Mockabee of Cleveland, Ohio. Murdered on 30 July, 2016.
• Erykah Tijerina of El Paso, Texas. Murdered on 8 August, 2016.
• Rae’Lynn Thomas of Columbus, Ohio. Murdered on 10 August, 2016.
• Lexxi T. Sironen of Waterville, Minnesota. Murdered on 6 September, 2016.
• T.T. of Chicago, Illinois. Murdered on 11 September, 2016.
• Crystal Edmonds of Baltimore, Maryland. Murdered on 16 September, 2016.
• Jazz Alford of North Carolina. Murdered in Birmingham, Alabama on 23 September, 2016.
• Brandi Bledsoe of Cleveland, Ohio. Murdered on 12 October, 2016.
• Sierra Bush/Simon Bush/Sierra Simon of Idaho City, Idaho. Murdered on 22 October, 2016.
• Noony Norwood of Richmond, Virginia. Murdered on 5 November, 2016.
Today, honor those we have lost. Tomorrow and every day, fight for them and all others. Remember Our Dead. #trans #tdor #tdor2016
This is an extraordinary year for trans Americans in particular: we are at a moment in time where too many hard-won battles may be reversed in the coming years by our newly-elected federal government. While we can’t say we’ve had it good, we have had better federal protections than we’d ever had before. So many are worried that so much of that will be taken away, whether it’s because the ACA will be gutted or ID laws will become more complicated or because transness itself will be re pathologized.
And I’m worried about the future. I worry that by this time next year, we will need a Trans Day of Resistance, instead.
But I did want to say this: many of you are feeling worried and scared and vulnerable in a way that you have not felt before. And for that reason I have to say: if you can’t do it this year, DON’T. Take care of yourself. Live another day. Remember another day. The violence that is part and parcel of TDOR is hard every year, but this year – with too much evidence of the kind of hate we always know is out there – it may be too much for you to manage.
Do find each other. Do reach out. Do tell the people in your lives if and when you are feeling vulnerable. As we all wake up from the shock this election caused the country and caused many of us as individuals, remember that there are millions of us out here who are also shocked, saddened, and scared for what the future may bring.
Know this: you are loved and valuable and amazing in so many, many ways.