11th Transgender Day of Remembrance

Jaime, my love and my life, you gotta love her.

As we approach the 11th Transgender Day of Remembrance, tomorrow, November 20, 2009, I want to share with you something Jaime posted on her facebook profile:

“This week I will have my profile picture blacked out in observance of TDOR (transgender day of remembrance). I am doing this for the many faces that will no longer be seen. Crimes and murders against transgender individuals have nearly doubled this year alone. In many cases when a transgender individual is killed their bodies are mutilated and often the perpetrators aren’t prosecuted; frequently the victims remain unidentified. I have a transgender friend who hid as her roommate (also trans) was shot in the head and in the heart, her face was nearly shot off but she would remain alive until after the paramedics arrived (the perpetrator of this crime was basically put on house arrest).

Transgender people serve as your doctors and professors, we fix your hair, your coffee or your computer, we entertain. There are also many transgender people who work in the sex industry–maybe they want to, maybe they face job discrimination, maybe they feel like it’s all that they are worth, maybe they have been disowned by family and simply thrown away–how many times can you hear that you are an abomination, a freak or made to feel less than human and still feel worthy of being a part of ‘mainstream’ society.

I have yet to meet a transgender person who has not had a suicide attempt or seriously contemplated suicide, and there are many suicides of transgender individuals that don’t get reported because of the ‘shame’ associated with this condition.

I don’t know all of the reasons why people are transgender nor do I fully understand all of the reasons that this is such a difficult issue for many churches and for society to deal with. What I do know is that we don’t have to agree on everything but that everyone has the right to be treated with respect and dignity. Another thing that I also know is that there is an emptiness from the loss of my brothers and sisters whose lives were taken too early and their stories will never be told; and that I live with the fear that there is a greater probability I can be murdered or my friends can be attacked because of who I am (and I have witnessed firsthand the murder of a friend nearly a year ago and that will take a lifetime to heal). I know that I will cry a river this week, I know that I am depressed (I also know this will pass) and I know that there will be the dawn of a new day (although I can never say the sun will come out tomorrow-and some of you may know why). I know that the probability that more lives of my brothers and sisters being taken is inevitable; but I know that I will tell my story just a little more than I have in the past, and I know that I have seen changes in peoples attitudes and I know that I will not stop working for equality, and I know that now more than ever I am grateful for my family and for my friends.”