Today is Trans Day of Remembrance, a day to remember and speak the names of the people we’ve lost over the past year because of transphobic violence. It’s a day to mourn, to honor the lives of our trans siblings that have died over the last year, and to bring attention to this problem.
Gwendolyn Ann Smith is the founder of Transgender Day of Remembrance and a few years ago, wrote about what today is all about and why it’s so (unfortunately) necessary:
The Transgender Day of Remembrance is not an event for fundraisers and beer busts. It’s not an event we “celebrate.” It is not a quick and easy one-day way for organizations to get credit for their support of the transgender community. It’s not something to trot out on the 20th of November and forget about. We should be working every day for all of us, living and dead.
Why do we remember? We remember for Rita Hester and Chenelle Pickett. We remember for Brandon Teena, for Gwen Araujo, for Marsha P. Johnson. We remember for Deoni Jones of Baltimore, Md., killed last February. We remember for Tyrell Jackson of Florida, killed on April 4, 2012. We remember for Coko Williams, killed in Detroit on April 3. We remember for Paige Clay, killed in Chicago on April 16. We remember for Brandy Martell of Oakland, killed on April 29, 2012. We remember for Tiffany Gooden, killed in Chicago on August 14. We remember for hundreds of others killed around the world in anti-transgender murders.
We should always be working to end transphobic violence and to support the community. Like Smith mentioned, today is not about brownie points for being a good ally – it’s about remembering those we’ve lost and supporting the people we still have. There are other days that also exist to uplift the trans community like Trans Day of Visibility and Trans Day of Action because it’s constantly important to protect and support trans individuals and the community.
— Look Different (@LookDifferent) November 20, 2015
If you want to be an ally today, there are several ways to be one (and I won’t have all the answers). Stand with us as we remember those we’ve lost this year, say the names with us. Fight against transphobia and transmisogyny when you see it every single day – call out people, fight for legal protections, support trans people who are struggling, help stop trans murders.
Remember that it’s important to not be trans exclusionary in feminism and to protect all of our sisters, not just our cis-ters. Remember that the violence against the trans community and the larger LGBT community is more likely to impact trans women of color so also fight against racism and misogyny. Attend actions if you can, read and support as much as you can.
I’ve said it before and I’ll always say it but to all of you trans babes out there, I love you so much. Your existence is authentic and wonderful and you are made from millions of years of stardust. The universe sits with you every day and I’m so thankful that the world exists with you. There are many resources out there to help if you need it or if you’re struggling.
Today, I’ll be saying the names of those we’ve lost, remembering the ones who died because of who they are. I’ll be remembering Keyshia Blige, Tamara Dominguez, India Clarke, Papi Edwards, Mercedes Williamson, Penny Proud, and so many more.