Almost 20 years ago today the first Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) brought together transgender (trans), gender nonconforming (gnc) and many other communities together to honor those lost to anti-trans violence as well as celebrate resilience and resistance.
Each year communities reflect on the long list of names of those who we have lost while holding space for deaths unknown. As of November 20th, 2018 there have been 22 murders of trans and gnc folks in the united states that we know of. Many trans and gnc deaths are misrepresented because of the ignorance, transphobia, transmisogyny and transmisogynoir on behalf of the police and journalists alike.
Off all those murdered, trans women of color make up most of the names on every list. Black trans women in particular.This is an emergency. The average life expectancy of trans women of color is 35. That’s 35 from start to finish. Let that sink in.
The recent “transgender memo” released by the Trump administration is would define transgender out of existence. ”. It would erase the estimated 1.4 million Americans who self identify as transgender, gender nonconforming or gender variant.
We must be swift and we must be bold when it comes to speaking up for trans and gnc folks. We can’t shy away from or ignore transphobia, transmisogyny or transmisogynoir when we encounter it. The truth is comrades we must do better for our transgender, gender nonconforming and gender variant siblings.
The foremothers of the trans liberation movement Sylvia Rivera, Marsha P. Johnson and many of our transcestors kicked off a revolution with one fateful night at the Stonewall Inn. The Stonewall Riots were started and lead by trans women of color in response to state violence and police brutality. For decades the telling and retelling of what happend has stood as a symbol of resistance and what can become possible when opportunity and self determination meet. Transgender, gender non-conforming and gender variant folks have been on the front-lines from the start. Our magic, wisdom and brilliance has served to lift and amplify every movement struggle imaginable.
Today is a call to hear our comrades cries for solidarity and move towards the day when we are all truly liberated. If you have transgender or gnc folks in your life check-up on them, honor their pronouns (especially if they aren’t around), organize against transphobic policies locally and federally, advocate for gender neutral bathrooms (at work, school or place of worship), talk about the harmful effects of gender reveal parties, do your homework to be clued into inclusive language and current issues from credible sources.
The Transgender Day of Remembrance, Resilience and Resistance is more than a day to honor the dead. It’s a defiant day to celebrate the resilience of the transgender and gender nonconforming community as well as a commitment to resistance. Ase.
*Black transgender pride flag featured in this blog created by Raquel Willis.
Lives lost to anti-trans violence this year in the U.S.–that we know of:
Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien, 42
Vicky Gutierrez, 33
Celine Walker, 36
Tonya Harvey, 35
Phylicia Mitchell, 45
Zakaria Fry, 28
Amia Tyrae Berryman, 28
Sasha Wall, 29
Carla Patricia Flores-Pavon, 18
Nino Fortson, 36
Antash’a English, 38
Gigi Pierce, 28
Cathalina Christina James, 24
Diamond Stephens, 39
Keisha Wells, 54
Sasha Garden, 27
Dejanay Stanton, 24
Vontashia Bell, 18
Shantee Tucker, 30
London Moore, 20
Nikki Enriquez, 28
Ciara Minaj Carter Frazier, 31