Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Repercussions (International Transgender Day of Remembrance)

Today is the 10th Annual International Transgender Day of Remembrance. I've been trying to think about how to talk about this for a few days now. This day memorializes those transgendered people who have been killed simply because of who they are.

This isn't about people just dying peacefully in their sleep. That I can deal with. Death is just as much a part a life as is birth. Today is about those whose lives were cut short, those who were prematurely eliminated from the world of the living. That is something I just can't accept. That is not inevitable.

I've been wondering what this means. I think the universe, the Creative spirit, the bigger-than-you-and-me thing, or whatever you want to call it, put us on this earth together for a reason. The Creator also made us with a great deal of diversity. Tall, queer, Asian, lesbian, transgendered, short, disabled, gay, cis-gendered, Latin@, non-disabled...We are all meant to be threads in a beautiful tapestry encompassing the earth.

So what are the repercussions when we allow people to cut short the lives of those who are already struggling to hang on at the margins of our societies? Perhaps, the results are that things start to unravel. Once this supposedly problematic element of society is removed, who else will end up on the cutting room floor? Others who exist around the margins are the first to be affected, but it doesn't stop there, does it?

Maybe, when the threads that bind us to one another are snipped away because we decide that some lives don't matter as much and that we'd be better off without certain kinds of people, eventually, it becomes impossible to hold together any sort of working, thriving communities where anyone can feel safe from harm. That could conceivably include those who see themselves as completely mainstream, normal, and morally superior to those in marginalized communities who are being murdered every day just because of who they are, just because their lives are not considered valuable.

I know this might sound harsh, but it could be that we are receiving our just deserts. Maybe those who are now upset, because their once-cushy existence is now threatened, ought to get up off their asses and do something to protect marginalized folks like the transgendered population. Maybe then we wouldn't have so many transgendered friends, family, and community members to mourn today. Maybe this fucked up world is exactly what we've reaped through our inaction and complicity with those who killed these beautiful souls. Maybe we'll change. Maybe all of society will go up in flames and if anything or anyone is left standing, hopefully they'll have learned something from it all.

Karma Police
-by Radiohead

How to Mourn
-Queen Emily

Ten Years-400 Dead...And Counting
-Monica Roberts (TransGriot)

Full Listing of Transgender Day of Remembrance Blog Posts


Anonymous said...

A thoughtful, caring and heartfelt post on a day of reflection, thank you.


Monica Roberts said...

Thanks for being there on a tough day for all of us.

bint alshamsa said...

Helen & Monica,

Thank you for allowing me to stand with you.

Monica Roberts said...

I'm finding that I and other African-descended transwomen get more support from my African descended biosisters than we do from some of our so called allies in the GLBT community.

bint alshamsa said...


what do you think cis-gendered women, especially African-descended one, should do to show our displeasure with how some within the LGBT community marginalize transgendered women of color? I've been thinking about this since you posted your comment a few days ago.