Transgender Day of Remembrance
VERY LATE UPDATE: As Victoria points out below. I was massively wrong when I posted this about the number of dead. In my defense, I was following the usually decent transgender day of remembrance website, but still bad on me. As she points out, the number was actually 186 and as she notes will probably go up even if things get better as that means we’ll see more reporting of crimes that used to be “disappeared” or unreported on. If there is a bright side, it is that the political climate is improving slightly with some decent legislation and declarations going through the US and UN and countries like Canada starting to pass formal declarations of gender identity rights. But yes, sorry. The original post is in full below:
So, it’s that time of the year again. The time of the year where we take some time to stop and mourn those murdered in the past year because they dared be who they were. Who were murdered as a message to all trans people to stay hidden, unprotected, and afraid of the larger world.
It is where we mourn our losses and reignite our strength for resistance and self-resiliency.
It is a thoroughly depressing day, but a necessary one to highlight the way we are still slaughtered like animals by the society we coexist with.
Here is this year’s list of our fallen.
Among the fallen this year is Mariah Qualls, a young transgender activist who lived in San Francisco, which is quite near where I’ve moved to be with my partner and where I’ve been getting back into street transgender activism.
These deaths are not only heart-breaking because of who they were, who loved them, and why they are killed. They are also heart-breaking because they are part of a terrorist campaign to make every transgendered person scared to walk the streets, open their doors, admit who they are to potential friends, allies, lovers. It is a force trying to make us be silent so they can pretend we don’t exist, so our deaths will continue to mean nothing to the public at large.
And if there is one ray of sunshine to this year, it’s that the list is at least much shorter than last year’s.
It seems actions like the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr Hate Crimes Prevention Act and the UN Declaration on Sexual Orientation and gender identity, both passed in the last two years, have started to pay off in governments and police departments taking our murders more seriously.
Additionally, the Angie Zapata murder trial may have acted as a watershed moment where the oft-employed “Trans Panic Defense” finally met its first failure to sway the jury to an unjust decision.
Basically, after so many Days of Remembrances and so much blood, our deaths, at least by murder (the one-third of transgendered people who end their lives by suicide are still invisible to the culture at large), seem to be starting to be taken seriously.
It doesn’t fix anything. And we still have a list far too long for liking to read and mourn this year.
Things are starting to get better…
And we can begin to dream of a day when the list numbers zero and we can remember this day only as a historical anomaly.
In the meantime, if you have time, consider attending one of these events tonight. Yes, it’s depressing, but it’s important for all of us to feel that we are not alone and that we are not the only ones who care about our dead.
Because with the recent political moves, it’s clear that that last statement has the added benefit of being true.
RIP Mariah Qualls and all those others struck down in their primes.
We mourn you all.