With all of the emphasis on Transgender Day of Remembrance these past couple of weeks and with events and memorials regarding it done before and after the actual day of memorial (each November 20th), one may ask (or hear it being asked) is this being overemphasized, carried to far, just not needed? Now before someone rears up in a hissy-fit and wants me to turn in my activist card and/or declaw me, let's take a look.
I went to four separate memorials, and attended 10 separate preceeding and anteceding events with regard to TDOR, in less of 7 days. A busy little activist, these were lectures, workshops, discussion panels, memorial services and even a play where time stood still to honor our fallen. I can see where one might say, "hey, enough is enough," but being an activist for the Trans (hey, I'm a Trans too!) trying to bring all out into the open world, I knew it was best to do so. Of course, being a small organization just beginning to grow up, only the metro area of St Louis could be covered. And I do have a partner, and he has expressed a desire being able to get an appointment with me, as well.
The reading of the names are depressing, as one would expect. The message from the speakers at each of these events was different, in message and in the approach. The majority of these were (of course) depressing and one of these was upbeat and suggested that we change to a happier 'tone' next year. I kept an open mind and from what I saw and heard, have the following to say.
The reading of names and the method of the murders are traumatizing and very heart-breaking. The candles and vigils and marches depressing and full of grief. In one speech with 'uplifting words' was of promise and hope (as were the others) but it was the one that I liked least. And don't come crawling all over me for saying that, the person that made that one is a friend of mine at the Community Center. And after all, I am allowed my opinion.
My thought is this: With a murder of the Trans now being calculated at one every three days, the thought of promise and hope will only tend to put that hope forefront and the Trans upholding that notion alone will have a lot of second-thoughts when we reconvene next year with the new list. When the Federal Hate Crimes Law was passed, I saw any number of blog commentaries from people that expressed the 'joy' that there would be no more murders. Huh? Of course, the commentary in return brought these dimwitted people back down to earth and retrieving that 'safety plan' they had thrown into the trash.
My second thought was that these memorials were not only overal poorly attended by the LGB Community, but by the Trans themselves. The thought that we meet at several places (speaking of the St Louis Metro area) does not capture the thought of what we are trying to say to anyone. Absolutely no one heard us, except to read of the events (but not to attend them). The point of each of these memorials fell about deaf ears. A radical thought of mine is why simply have these for the Trans, we know about the deaths and what is the need to re-hash the news (yeah, I know, about to lose my Trans-card, eh?) each Nov 20th? But before declawing me for heresy, let's take another look. We need this Day of Remembrance if not simply to keep the awares about ourselves. But why not get this out in the world's face, where we take these small singular events and combine them to present our pleas in force.
Make a noise. That is what we need to be doing. A few people in a church or at a forum or workshop will never be heard. We should be congregating together, the Trans Community making a huge noise and be making those that do not attend feel a little bit contrite. The noise the LGB's make on Day of Silence is deafening. We need to make ourselves heard.
Yes, we should look at other ways to promote the Trans Community as something to be proud of, and to be proud without fear. To do this, the Trans need to come out of hiding and be seen and counted as people. Because that is what we are. No one is going to give us that chance unless we are openly out on the street and doing the things we do. And be doing this open and be doing it loud. We need to take every opportunity to voice the thought that we are here, we are proud and not going away anytime soon.
Do remember, it is not without a word of caution. The hate crimes law does not, nor will not, stop hate crimes. We need to be vigilant, for ourselves and for our brothers and sisters. Go about your day, go about what you do, but go about in vigilance and remember we are still targets of hate and discrimination. Even by the "L's" and "G's" and "B's."
But don't be a silent "T."