Guest Author: Gwen Smith, TDOR’s Founder

From Gwen Smith, who founded Transgender Day of Remembrance back in 1999:

I Remember.

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

Trans Day of Remembrance 2016

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.

#TDOR

tdor 2014Update: found here.

I don’t know where this comic comes from, so I’m asking forgivness from its creator for putting it up without express permission. I’m happy to take it down if necessary, but wow, it hit me between the eyes. We don’t see stuff from family/partners for TDOR, and this is just heartwrenching and beautiful.

Thank you, LaBelle, whoever you are.

TDOR 2013

Here is this year’s post, which is also up at the Wisconsin Gazette. This was co-authored by Will Van Rosenbeek.

International Transgender Day of Remembrance is a time to reflect on those who have been killed because of transphobia and hate.  For those who are transgender, genderqueer or non-binary — and their significant others, friends, family and allies (SOFFAs) — not remembering isn’t even a possibility. Because we know that when we leave the house, or when our loved ones leave the house, there is some chance that some person out there will decide our loved one’s gender is wrong or bad. We know there are people in the world who think that violence will fix their own fears, law enforcement officers who think our lives aren’t important, and courts that think panic is a legitimate reason for murder.

What we’d like to see is a day when we can’t remember the violence committed against people who live their genders despite transphobia, who believe in their own dignity and right to exist. What we’d like is a day when the faces of those who were brutally murdered for being who they are don’t flip through our minds as reminders of the fear we need to live with.

We all have privileges! We may be white, we may be cisgender, we may be educated; we may have money and health insurance and the possibility of getting a job without questions about our genders. Most of the transgender people we remember had few or none of those advantages. Too many of the people who are killed every year are people of color, people who do sex work, people who have to decide between horribly risky work and starving.

For some transgender people, it is just the human desire to have companionship that makes them vulnerable to attacks.

While we remember those murdered, we want to celebrate them too. We see a transgender community filled with beautiful, engaged and joyful people. We see people in love. We see people with careers and jobs and families and hopes. We see people with aspirations and confidence.

What we want to see when we look around the transgender community is a great deal of joy. The kind of joy that comes with victory not just over the transphobic world we live in, but with the internalized transphobia all of us share — transgender and cisgender alike.

Transgender Day of Remembrance 2012

Here’s what I’ve got this year: I want this day to go the fuck away. Not because it’s not valuable and intentional and useful. It is all of those things. It serves a useful function. It helps people understand the very pervasive discrimination trans people are up against.

It’s just that there are all these people I love in my life who happen to be trans and it breaks my heart to see this very real reminder that somehow we are so upset by transness that we allow this kind of violence to persist.

I don’t want to remember someone for being trans and being killed. I want to remember people I miss because I miss something about them – their smile or their voice or their kindness of their love of trains.

But another year passes, and another TDOR comes and goes, and I think instead of all the radical, amazing activists I know who happen to be trans, and of all the amazing artists and musicians and writers I know who happen to be trans, and of all the amazing, boring people living perfectly mundane great lives post transition who no one knows are trans and I think: YES.

So that’s why we have the Transgender Day of Remembrance: to get the attention of all the people out there who don’t realize what the hell is going on out there. For me it is a day to remember why it is I chose this work, or why it chose me, and why I keep choosing it.

GLAAD Series on TDOR

GLAAD today began a series of blog posts about Transgender Day of Remembrance which is being observed on Sunday, November 20.

There is a great list of TDOR events on the official page, created by Ethan St. Pierre: http://www.transgenderdor.org/.

GLAAD Guest post from Stephanie Battaglino: http://www.glaad.org/blog/stephanie-battaglino-what-transgender-day-remembrance-means-me.

GLAAD Guest post from Ja’briel Walthour: http://www.glaad.org/blog/stephanie-battaglino-what-transgender-day-remembrance-means-me.

Info on event in NY hosted by the LGBT Center: http://www.glaad.org/events/tdor2011nyc and in LA: http://www.glaad.org/events/tdor2011weho.

GLAAD resource calling for mainstream media to report on TDOR: www.glaad.org/publications/tdorkit.

I wrote one of these for their series a couple  of years ago, and I’m glad to see they’re doing it again.

Not Tragic, Just Trans

It seems whenever there’s a profile or personal narrative of a trans person in mainstream media it has to be somehow tragic. And I’m so over it. Because I think we’re amazing.

What a cool and much overdue piece about being trans and not tragic. This kind of idea is what I was trying to get at years ago (7!) when I objected to – or suggested an addition to – the Transgender Day of Remembrance.

But no matter: I’m happy to see a trans person say it.