Today is Trans Day of Remembrance and, since no one else here has come forward as trans despite my daily recruitment spiel, I’m in charge of the blog today. There are a few days of the year that trans people find important, Trans Day of Visibility, TDOR, pride month (I’m trying to start trans funny hat day but it’s not catching on) but the TDOR is by far the most somber. It’s the day we remember trans people who are no longer with us, either due to murder, suicide, or otherwise dying from being mistreated by society.
I went to my first TDOR event in 2009, ten years ago today, back when it was still fairly new and had just starting gaining an online presence in comedy. We held a service where all of the trans people in the community and our allies were in a large hall, standing in a circle while holding candles. The coordinator handed us each a piece of paper with several names on it and we all read those names aloud, one person at a time. There were literally HUNDREDS of names. At the time, it was strictly murder victims throughout the world, most from that year because they didn’t really keep track before then. ‘Intense’ doesn’t begin to describe the emotions i felt.
But we’ve come so far, right? Yeah, right, and Chick-fil-a is naming a sandwich after me. It is better for many trans people than it was ten years ago but the murders aren’t going anywhere. Sure, you could google ‘transgender murder’ and would get a ton of results, that’s expected. Here’s the thing, you could google ‘transgender beheading’ and get a shit ton of results. Beheadings!!! In 2019!!! And while you could attribute that to the culture of certain parts of the world or say, ‘that could never happen here’, well no, there probably won’t be any decapitations in this county but trans women are still murdered here. They have even been killed while in custody of the US government while trying to gain asylum.
Trans women still don’t have an easy road but I would be remiss if I didn’t also point out just how much harder trans women of color have it both here and across the globe. Of the 22 murders in this country (that we know of) all but one was a trans woman of color. When you look at it globally, the numbers are just as skewed.
I’m not looking for pity, I’m just asking that you take a second today and just acknowledge what life and death is like for many whose names are added daily to a list that may never end. And on February 22nd, wear a funny hat.