It’s November. Time to get a draft prepared. . .
On this Transgender Day of Remembrance, what memories are we here to share?
There is a list of transpeople who we know were murdered this year, the tip of an iceberg globally.
These are lives brutally cut short which are worthy of remembering. They struggled in a world where trans has long been erased. They wanted what every other human wanted, to be productive, to be loved, to be valued in the world, but they had the added burden of being what society erased, people with a heart that wasn’t standard for their body.
They lived the best life they could, but they caught the attention of someone who wanted to act out against them, of someone who wanted them erased, or maybe, they were just so much in the shadows they were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
These transpeople, working to claim a life between limited expectations and great possibilities, got in the path of violence and were slaughtered. Their life was taken from them, their story brutally ended.
We remember these transpeople whose voices were stilled this year by raising our voices so their names can still inhabit the world we share. By saying their names out loud, we offer honor upon them, proclaiming them as another human, worthy of dignity and remembrance.
These are the names we read with dignity and ceremony this year. But like any year, there are many many transpeople who also suffered and died in darkness, away from any remembrance.
For transpeople who took their own lives, this year, we remember them. They saw a world that looked bleak and cold, saw struggle they feared was beyond them, without hope of meaningful change. They saw the fight ahead of them and felt crushed by it, so they found a way to end their suffering.
They stepped in front of traffic, they took too many pills, they cut at themselves, or did anything they could think of to avoid the doom and gloom that they were told that a trans life promised. They just decided that they couldn’t take it anymore.
For transpeople who work so hard everyday to kill off their own nature, we remember them. They deny, play small, hide and die a little bit to try and keep their own bold and brave hearts hidden, working to fit into a world where they have been taught that they don’t belong.
Somewhere inside, they know people see them as an abomination, a crime against god, a deluded liar, a freak or a pervert. Over their lifetime, they have taken these lessons in so that they know their sickness more than they know their own lovely power, know their brokenness more than they know their tender humanity.
The world held that teaching these transpeople about their own shameful nature would help them avoid sin, help them be normative, help them fit in. Parents didn’t want to have to feel the stigma of raising a queer child, so they piled that stigma onto their babies, the ones they had an obligation to help blossom in the world.
The system of gender pounds all of us towards fitting in as a sweet girl or tough boy. While that pounding denies the fullness of their hearts to every child, to trans kids, whose nature crosses those arbitrary lines, it smashes them down, down to the point where a life lived at risk or the death of a martyr can feel like the only way out.
For centuries transpeople have been erased, thrown into the trash to keep our towns, our communities and our lives nice and neat.
Today, we remember those who were murdered this year, the brothers, sisters, siblings and partners of all of those transgender people who were killed in the past to silence and erase them.
We also remember those who took themselves out of a world they found cruel and impossible, a world where they couldn’t get the affirmation, support and love that they knew they needed.
And we remember all the transpeople who experience the call to destruction in a world where they feel they have a target painted on their back, a place where they believe they have to twist and break themselves to fit in, communities where a kind of binary compliance is demanded that their trans nature just finds oppressive and crushing.
We stand together as allies, coming together in the memory of the lost and destroyed transpeople and in the awareness of the lost and destroyed parts of transpeople who are in the world today.
We stand together with concern and love for the beautiful and precious humanity these people can bring to a world that needs wholeness, a world where we need to connect with each other across lines of class, race and gender. Transpeople know the horrible price of those lines first hand because crossing those lines can get them destroyed.
We remember the lovely people who carried the truth of our continuous common humanity in their hearts and we remember how they suffered when those who would enforce boundaries destroyed and silenced them.
As long as those memories are with us, we can each stand and offer safe space for those who cross the lines out of the simple and beautiful love inside of them. We can stand to support and protect them, speaking up when we hear others try to dehumanize and vilify them, reaching out when we see someone who needs loving affirmation rather than just brutal correction.
The memories of those lost souls can give us the strength to reach out to families who have to choose to submit to community pressure or to celebrate the unique and beautiful humanity of even the queerest child.
We stand today in memory of all the precious humanity destroyed in the name of removing the challenge of those who cross the lines of gender, those who speak for continuous common humanity.
Remembering those who struggle, those who were killed and those who felt the pressure to kill themselves or part of themselves to ease the pain, gives us the awareness and strength to stand with compassion and love, working to make sure that each and every life matters.
And one more from this year: No Way Out