Transgender Day of Remembrance

We sat in class last week discussing the topic of Transgender Day of remembrance and what it meant to us and hypothesized how we could create an event to sanctify the day. Pouring over articles I became so touched tears came to my eyes. I could feel my face getting hot and my cheeks flushed. I almost became ashamed of the privilege I own as a heterosexual caucasian female living in the western world.

Since I work in the Indiana Memorial Union, I walk through Dunn Meadow each morning to reach my office. I remember that morning last fall walking in to work, seeing one little white sign, then another, and another. At first I thought it was a student group advertising a call out meeting or some sort of entertainment. I stopped and stared and read the words. It was a person’s name. Every single one had a person’s name, and a date of death. I still can’t explain how I felt. I must have stood for five minutes in silence, just looking at the sheer amount of them around the meadow. I can remember thinking “this is NOT ok”. In a lot of ways, I feel that memorials such as those signs reach out to far more people than a speaking engagement could. I was astounded and happy and sad all at the same time. These signs couldn’t be ignored. Sure, you could step around them if you like, but they were still there, sitting silently and patiently waiting for your attention.

I happened up on two articles about Transgender Day of Remembrance that I would like to share. The first I can identify with significantly. The second offers another perspective of violence against transgenders that needs to be acknowledged.

I found this specific paragraph in the article so true and moving.

First and foremost, transgender people model embodied courage to me. Their very bodies carry their commitment to themselves, to their own truth, costs be damned. They can’t board a plane, fill out most forms or go to the bathroom without diminishing their complexity. Still, in the face of all of that diminishment, they own their complexity daily. They hold their heads up and walk with dignity on a path which only their feet create — no one in the world has made it for them. So, for their courage and for how that encourages me in its turn to be my whole and complex self, I am profoundly grateful.

I feel the exact same way. I am humbled by trans people’s boldness, bravery, and self-identity. And I will choose to honor them on Saturday in any way that I can.

Transgender Day of Remembrance is a day to reflect on those who have died at the hands of violence or negligence. I was absolutely taken aback reading an article in class about a transman who died of ovarian cancer because he could not find a doctor that would agree to treat him. How is this possible? How does this happen? In the second article posted below, is a discussion of self-violence among the transgender community. Not as often highlighted as violence in the form of rape and murder, it is still a problem that deserves attention.

I consider myself privileged to have taken this class. It has changed the way I view the world and for that I am so thankful.


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