It feels so different this year with Monica gone.
It feels so much the same this year, seeing all the photos of the beautiful people taken by violence because they were trans.
It feels so different this year with 250,000 families mourning a loved one who died from Covid.
It feels the same to realize that there are still people who think a person’s gender identity is a good reason to hate them.
It feels so different this year because President Elect Joe Biden not only marked today as Transgender Day of Remembrance, but he made trans and non binary people a promise to respect their dignity and human rights.
I was talking to a fellow partner of a trans person recently about how terrifying it can be to negotiate other people’s attraction to your partner. On the one hand, it’s nice to see someone realize that they find a trans person attractive for the first time. On the other: really? I mean, there are a million billion examples of beautiful trans people. But the dynamic for someone who is surprised by that attraction is so, so complicated. I’ve had people walk up and tell me how hot my wife is, and sometimes they are so proud of themselves for validating her gender and beauty. Other times it’s just creepy and weird.
But partners always live with that fear that exactly the wrong person will find your person attractive, or find their gender an affront, and so we live with that fear all the time of the person we love being hurt because of who they are, but moreso, because the wrong person’s dick got hard.
It sickens me over and over again to see the beautiful people who were killed maybe because they slept with the wrong person or just because they were walking home from work late at night. Maybe they were doing sex work. Maybe they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. But it’s still a reality that a trans person can be targeted for doing absolutely nothing at all but existing.
So when we have these “theoretical” conversations about what gender is I never hear a conversation about gender. What I hear instead is a conversation about whether my beautiful wife deserves to be treated with respect, her life and autonomy protected.
And honestly my heart hurts these days, hurts with the piles of grief. It hurts because I miss Monica and still can’t quite believe she’s done. And it hurts with the fear I have for others’ safety, the frustration when I realize how little I feel like I can do, have done.
So this year I’m inviting you to celebrate or thank a trans person you know, to send them a card or a gift or pay a bill that needs paying.
If you’ve got suggestions for organizations that specifically help trans people, let me know.
Here in Wisconsin there’s FORGE and Diverse & Resilient. Today, consider a donation.
Do more. Read a book. Watch Disclosure. Support trans candidates for office.
Sometimes what bothers me most about TDOR is that I am reminded that a bunch of my friends are trans because their being trans isn’t the important thing about any of them and never fucking has been.
But we mark the day to respect the dead, to say their names, to say: violence is not okay.
I just really hope, someday, there is no need for TDOR because there is no violence against trans people.