On November 20th, many came together to remember transgender people, gender-variant individuals, and those perceived to be transgender who have been murdered because of hate. This annual remembrance of those we have lost began in 1999. At events all over the world, the names of those slain were read. The International Transgender Day of Remembrance website keeps a running list of these names and allows visitors to view the names many years back. For each lost is listed their name, location, date of death, and how they died. It is a tragically long list.
There are far too many voices that have been silenced. Far too many people targeted merely for being who they are. For many left behind, there is a feeling of obligation to speak for those who can speak no more, to tell their stories, and to support one another.
Affirmation member Emmett Claren shared, “It isn’t easy being different. It isn’t pleasant being watched by judgmental eyes. To know people are whispering about who I was before I transitioned. I am Transgender, yes. But there is so much more to my identity. I am a musician, hiker, artist, brother, son, grandson, uncle, and Christian. And that’s just scratching the surface. I am a PERSON, just like anyone else. And there are so many people in this world who, like me, feel different. Unique. We have this in common….. We deserve to live, breathe, love, and experience life to the fullest. And I will continue to make my voice heard for all those who have been silenced.”
Expressing a deep sense of loss, Affirmation member Kimberly Anderson wrote, “The transgender people that die each year hit me in the heart with tremendous force. I see each one as a potential world-changing individual that had their path stolen from them. I cry for the opportunities that they leave unfulfilled. The songs left unsung. The art left unmade. The love left unrequited…Today is a day of remembering. It is a day full of heaviness. Remember those who we have lost. Remember those who we have not. Remember those who are struggling. If you are a friend of a transgender person, please check in with them regularly. Especially when you think they are strong. Especially when you think they are happy. They just might be neither and in that moment desperately need your warm smile.”