Every year, the Transgender Day of Remembrance turns in to a week where Trans and Gender Non-Conforming people celebrate and raise awareness to their community, their issues, their triumphs and how to be an ally. This year we celebrate the week of November 13th – 19th. It’s a week when we should speak openly about who we are, what our issues are, and what people can do to help. In 2018 Trans Awareness Month was started in San Francisco by then Mayor London Breed and the Office of Transgender Initiatives. They created a month of awareness as opposed to the one week. It is celebrated all over the world now and serves to uplift the community with activities that educate and advocate.
In San Diego, Project Trans at the Center will raise the Transgender flag at the Hillcrest Pride Plaza on November 13 at 11AM. Come by if you like and watch our beautiful Trans flag fly high for the week.
The week culminates in the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance. This year’s event will be held at the County Administration Building at 1600 Pacific Highway, San Diego 92101. The event begins at 6 pm with speakers and a reading of the names of those we lost nationally to anti-transgender hate and violence. All are welcome to attend.
We must remember those we lost, we must honor them and never forget their names. If we, the Trans Community and our allies, do not continue to raise awareness about the violence against our community, then who will? This day is for us to take a stand, to say, “NO MORE”. It’s a day when we tell our Black and Latina siblings that they matter, their lives matter. That their presence in the Trans Community is important and enriches us all. We want to make our voices heard to everyone in our city, in our county that we are here and we deserve the respect and dignity that other citizens automatically receive. Let’s stand up and represent our community with love and respect for each other.
Transgender Day of Remembrance was started in 1999 by Gwendolyn Ann Smith, to remember Rita Hester, a Trans woman who was murdered in Boston, MA. Now it is an international day to remember and honor those we lost from violence and hate. I feel that as somber a day as it is, we are also celebrating their courage and strength to have lived their authentic lives. We celebrate their power of their lives and the love they gave and received from those around them. We mourn with their families and friends and communities.
According to the HRC, 43 deaths have been confirmed in the US so far this year. One of the deadliest years since tracking of these murders was begun. This doesn’t take into account the rest of the world where in previous years the death toll has been upwards of 300 transgender people. Most of them Trans Women of Color. Many are sex workers, which is often the only way many Trans Women can survive. No one deserves to die for just being who they are.
I think that we have all noticed the rise in violence in our society and sadly much of this violence has been directed towards the Transgender Community. I wish I had an answer as to why people commit violent acts against anyone. I wish I had an answer as to why the rage that is living within someone is even there. Our society needs a booster shot, of love and acceptance not only for others, but for ourselves.
I wonder if much of the violence happens because people are unhappy with themselves; or because they experienced hate and perhaps violence in their own lives at some point. We know that serious childhood trauma can cause lasting issues for many folks. We need to see when others are hurting, we need more compassion, and we need to reach out to those around us who might be suffering. Imagine a world where people felt safe all the time, where people could reach out to those around them and be heard, really heard. When learning about other communities would be a staple within our educational systems. It all sounds like such an impossible dream. But it’s November, the month of giving thanks. For me it’s a month to reflect on my year and hope to feel I did some good, made a difference. It’s a month when I give thanks for all of those people who surround me, who push me to be a better person. I give thanks for those challenges that help me build strength and character.
It’s a month when I recognize my privilege and my blessings. I have many of those two things as do many of us. I try my best to use that to uplift and focus on folks who are marginalized. Wouldn’t it be great if I, we could do this all the time?
I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving. I ask that you at least spend a moment to reflect on your blessings and to remember those we have lost.