It has come to my awareness that my first draft for TDOR 2017 seems a bit too complicated and intense.
Here is a second, simpler draft.
We don’t come together today to remember transgender murders, rather we gather to remember transgender lives. Each name read isn’t just a chime, rather it is the remainder of a trans person who lived, loved, struggled, sweated and survived until they no longer did.
When we hear of tragic deaths, we have two choices.
We can come together to fear death, identifying victimization and loss, girding ourselves from inevitable pain and destruction.
Or we can come together to remember to value life while we have it, celebrating the messy possibilities of creation, of relationship, of love.
When you hear about a murder, do you look for someone to blame, for someplace to hide? Or are you reminded that life is precious and must be lived to the full in order to make the most of our gifts?
Do you yell and wail or do you hug and educate?
I believe that the way we honour those we have lost is by making the most out of what we still have, of all that we can find and transform in this world.
Were people there, loving, encouraging and empowering the people who lost their lives to violence this year? We hope so, hope they had moments of bliss that lifted them and deeply connected them to others, to something greater.
We can’t change their lost lives, though, cannot change the past. All we can do is to allow the memory of them to inform our choices, helping shape our future.
As we remember what is lost, we are reminded of what we have to value. We are reminded that moving beyond our own limits, our own comfort, our own habits and expectations is the only way to develop deep connections that open us to love beyond fear.
Queer people were lost to us. Doesn’t that remind us to remember how important it is to value the queer people who pass through our lives today, the ones who make choices we would never make for ourselves, but which open our eyes and our hearts to a kind of continuous common humanity that transcends our personal experience?
We remember the lost so we can be reminded to value the found, moving beyond the fear of death to the love of life, human expression and essence in all its diverse, challenging and beautiful forms.
We remember to remind us to open to the love that can connect us all.