Today marks the thirteenth annual Transgender Day of Remembrance. A list of lives we are honouring this year can be found here, with some additional thoughts on the killers of trans* people: It’s not always people, it can be apathy and political inaction.
This day brings tears to my eyes, and it brings a little stab of fear to my heart: Would my sweetheart one day end up on this list? I can’t help but fear that. Each time we dare go out as two women, rather than taking the safer, more androgynous route, I’m extra-vigilant about who’s around us, check if anyone’s following, and keep an eye on whoever looks twice. It’s something you never really forget, one just manages to suppress it for a while and try to have fun and not worry.
Every last name on this list was someone who had a life, maybe not to different from the lives Jaime and I lead, or maybe entirely different. Jaime is blessed by living in a country and a province which has coverage of SRS and hormones, by having a family who is accepting, a strong support network of friends and loved ones, a job, and other protections which make life safer to live each day for a trans person. Others are not so fortunate, and have to contend with the discrimination that come with being trans on top of being poor, of colour, involved in sex work, or homeless. I don’t know the circumstances of all the lives on this list, but the one thing which unites them is that they were all cut down too soon.
Let us not confine our memories of these lost lives to today though. Let us keep them in our hearts and minds as we continue the fight for trans people to be safely included in the world, by fighting for anti-discrimination measures which cover housing, schooling, employment, public facilities, military inclusion, and family life as well as hate crime legislation.