2017 Trans Day of Remembrance and Resilience

Another Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR).
Another year in which transgender people around the world have been murdered for who they are.
Another year in which most of those murdered were transgender women of colour.

This is my 8th TDOR since my epiphany and beginning my own social and medical transitions. This is the first year since then when I am not going to or helping to organize a public TDOR event. Instead, I am taking time to take care of myself.

For many TDOR is complicated, and it is for me as well. On the one hand it is a day when we remember the dead, those we have lost. I choose to remember those who have taken their own lives, those who have died of exposure, and all those whose lives are not remembered. Yet, I do this regularly throughout the year as well. TDOR, however, is when wider society tends to take notice. This notice is problematic.

As a friend reminded people today, for many Trans Women of Color (TWOC) it is a day that is felt to be glorifying their bodies. TWOC are ignored in life, yet become an opportunity for politicians and others to get photo ops and claim to be allies. Allies of trans women, and allies against racism. We need to do better. For TWOC, for trans women generally, and for trans people generally. Particularly for those who are further marginalized because they are people of color. We need to listen to what they are saying, their stories. We need to do this every day of the year.

Cisgender people, TDOR is not when we need you speaking up. We need you to be there for the whole year. If you are saying something about TDOR center trans people of colour by sharing their work. For friends and family who know this and live it, I am thankful. You help me in being able to be resilient. Yet, there is a ton of manure that comes from cisgender people and TDOR brings out way too much chest beating and saying, “look how good an ally I am.”

One way in which some trans people are re-framing TDOR is to mark it as Transgender Day of Resilience, not just remembrance. I believe this was started by trans people of colour, like many things in the history of LGBT liberation and struggle for rights. Something we often forget.

The reframing of TDOR allows for a celebration of the many ways in which trans people are resilient throughout the year while at the same time remembering those who have died. We are able to mark all the struggles that transgender people face around the world.

Personally, I like this re-framing. It is an important one. It is easy to forget just how resilient trans people are. How much shit we go through. How much more shit trans people of colour go through. How much more shit trans people with disabilities go through. How much more shit trans people with mental health issues go through.

Therefore this year on TDOR I am remembering those who have died. Equally important, I honour those who are still around. Those who have managed, and continue to manage, to keep going in the face of dreadful adversity. In the face of ongoing violence, discrimination, and ostracization that often comes from with in trans communities themselves.

Trans communities and trans people need to do better. As part of my marking of TDOR, marking remembrance and resilience, I pledge to work to do better. I know I have made mistakes, and will make mistakes in the future. I call on others to do the same.

As trans people and trans communities we need to recognise that there are disabled trans people. We exist, yet often trans communities and organizations are inaccessable to us.

For myself and other white trans people. We need to ensure that we are truly listening to trans people of colour. Raising their voices. Sadly, all too often, we silence them, instead. We can do better. We must do better.

This year for TDOR I remember, and I celebrate resilience. I mark my own resilience by ensuring that I am doing what I need to do to be resilient. For each trans person out there, however you mark this day is the right way for you.

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