Today is the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance, a day when we remember those (that we know of) that we lost from our communities during the year.
The HRC has published a list of their names, and stories–they range in age from 17 to 59, from all over the country. Almost all of them are transwomen of color under 40.
I’m not part of that very-vulnerable population, but I do have a couple of young friends who are–and I fear for them All. The. Time. One date gone wrong, and I’ll be learning their “dead” name in the papers, when the press and their families misgender them.
…which, to me, is an indicator that the 25 names listed on HRC’s list aren’t even close to all of them. We live, as a class, with a higher threat of death at the hands of our fellow humans, every day.
To the non-transgender folk who see this, a message:
You’re the ones who can start changing the culture, not me. Your many voices can outshine mine alone, or even that of all the transfolk in the world–you in your millions are the ones who can speak up when someone says something transphobic, or tells a joke at the expense of transpeople that is othering and hateful. You’re the ones who can elect representatives that will pass laws to help protect us from discrimination in employment, in healthcare, in housing, in public accommodations, all conditions that make us more vulnerable. You’re the ones who can speak up when police and the press add indignity to our deaths by using our old names and gender pronouns.
We need your help, and compassion, and love. On this Day of Remembrance, think about what you personally can and will do in the next 12 months, to make that list shorter next year. I dream of a day–which probably won’t come in my lifetime–when the list is empty, come November 20. But I can’t make that dream happen, without your help.