This week marked the 14 annual Transgender Day of Remembrance, a day where people of all types come together to memorialize those who were killed for simply being themselves. This year was the first year I was actually able to attend the memorial event in Minneapolis.
My girlfriend and I decided to take off early to attend the memorial which was scheduled for 7:00 pm this year. We arrived at the church which was holding the event, we were quite early, but we weren’t the only people who to get their picks of seats. We sat in the church, just chatting to pass the time. As time grew closer for everything to begin, people began to arrive. There were trans folks, other members of the LGBT community, and allies of all ages, identities, and appearances arrive. I was honestly impressed with the amount of people who ended up at the memorial.
As the memorial began, the organizer went through the plans for the evening, which included the naming of the 61 victims that were taken from this world, each with a candle to be lit, and the statement that, “we will remember.” The reading of the names was emotional, and yet graphic. Each name was read by different members of the gathering, along with place of death, the date and the cause of death.
The reading of these deaths are enough to cause any normal person to disgusted, mournful, and leave in shock. Transpeople this year were stabbed multiple times, shot, had their throats slit, dragged by vehicles, blunt force trauma, burned, or some other (yet graphic). Some of these details were enough to make me shutter to think, how horrible it would have been to taken out of this world in such matters. In what’s worse, it was a reminder how people were taken away from us for simply being themselves.
What impacted me the most was an individual that went up twice for two names that were here in the United States. After the reading, we had open mic to talk, she came back up to talk about the two names she read, they were her friends, people she knew. It was a reality check to just how close to us this impacts, it can impact people that we could interact with on any other day.
This was a reminder for me. I am exactly what these victims are, a person who was tired of acting. It is a reminder that despite the fact most of us are happier with being authentic human beings, we are ridiculed, abused, and in worst cases, murdered for being ourselves. I will admit it causes me be a little fearful, but I hope that by doing, and participating in what I do, it allows for a change and will allow me to not be so fearful in scenarios I should not have to worry.
So this is the first of my TDoR memorials, and I know it will not be my last. I just hope in my time, I will get to see TDoR become a memory for us.