Today is Transgender Day of Remembrance, a day observed by the Trans community to mourn all of those who were murdered in the last year because of their gender identity and/or expression. As it has been the past several years, this years is the deadliest year on record. By some counts over 350 trans folks around the world were murdered. In the United States the number of people was 28. As it is almost every year, the majority of people on the list are transgender women of color.
Every year I sit down and try to come up with something to say. Something that will be helpful to my community. Something that will shake the cisgender community out of their lethargy.
Something that will make a difference. Something that will allow us to live.
Every year I waver between deep sadness and overwhelming rage.
I am frustrated that so many people still don’t even know what transgender day of remembrance is. I am angry that so many churches ignore this day. I am angry that so many people have no idea how many of my siblings are murdered every single year.
I am sad that when I say that I sometimes feel unsafe people look at me like I must be crazy.
I don’t really know what to say to cis folks. I don’t know what will finally make you stop hating me and my community. I don’t know what will make you stop saying things that dehumanize us. I don’t know what will make you stop asking insensitive and invasive questions. I don’t know what will make you look at me and see someone as fully human as you are. I don’t know what will make you stop hurting my community. I don’t know because it seems like no matter how many times I’ve spoken or explained or provided resources or told you what’s harmful your response is mostly to be defensive and to write me off and to keep doing it. So I don’t know what to say. But I will tell you this: You are killing us.
With your words. With your thoughts. With your casting decisions in movies and plays. With the harmful way you write about us (in both fiction and nonfiction). You are killing us with your questions. With your laws. You are killing us with your inattention and your lack of respect.
You are killing us with these “little” actions that lead to big actions that lead to fists and guns and rocks and knives. You are killing us over and over and over again. You are killing us.
And I don’t know what to say to make you care enough to stop.
Because you don’t seem to ever care enough to stop.
I don’t want your apologies or your questions about how to make it better (because when I answer them you blow me off). I don’t want you to promise you’ll do better. I just want you to do better. To do your work. To do your research. To root out oppressive behaviors and language. To stop killing us.
Today I mourn, not only the dead, but also for the lack of care of the living. I mourn for the kids who are abandoned by their parents (or worse who’s parents try to fix them). I mourn for the students at Christian colleges. I mourn for the ones in seminary or who got ordained but can’t find a church to call them. I mourn for all of the trans folks who have toxic theology heaped on them over and over and over again. I mourn for the trans folks who are victims of the prison system. I mourn for the ones who don’t have access to health care (not just the life changing surgeries or hormones but any health care at all). I mourn for the poverty my community faces.
I mourn for the way our history keeps getting taken from us. For the way our stories get told incorrectly by people who are not us. I mourn that some of us have never met anyone else like us or seen someone like us in a movie or on tv.
I mourn all of this. I mourn for us. Tomorrow I’ll get back up and get back to work. But today I will mourn.