Fighting back means understanding that we are beautiful. Inside and out. We are exceptional and amazing. If we don't believe it, it will be difficult to convince others to do the same.
The sad truth is, this personal moment is not exclusive to November 20th. I, like many others, live perpetually is a state of fear of the reaction from those who do not support my identity.
This is by no means a complete list. Most transgender deaths are unreported or lost due to misgendering.
Last year I attended my first Transgender Day of Remembrance. My teenage trans daughter had been out only six months, and no matter how much we loved, accepted, and supported her, there seemed to be so much hatred and pain lying in wait beyond our front door. Throughout the entire vigil I wept openly and profusely. So this year I had not planned to attend TDOR.
My heart belongs to the ladies on 14th Street who stood with me night after night, trying to survive and just be their authentic selves. I cry today for those ladies who are no longer here with us in 2014, but my heart remembers them.
Today we memorialize and celebrate the lives of those transgender and gender-nonconforming persons who were murdered this past year simply because of their gender identities. We also honor the lives of trans people who ended their own lives because they just could not bear to go on in the face of the emotional and/or physical violence brought about by transphobia.
As we honor our friends and family we have lost to anti-transgender violence on Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoR), how can we ensure that transgender women of color are leading the LGBTQ anti-violence movement?
This is by no means a complete list. Most transgender deaths are unreported or lost due to misgendering. I should also point out that not everyone agrees on which types of deaths ought to be included in such lists. I've included domestic violence and suspicious deaths but excluded suicide.
Dorothy Allison wrote, "Two or three things I know for sure, and one of them is just this -- if we cannot name our own we are cut off at the root...." I use this quotation each year for my church's Trans Day of Remembrance service, an event I am tired of observing. I'm weary of counting our dead, and weary of reading the ways we die.
Attendance continues to grow, including that of elected leaders. The U.S. Secretary of State himself, John Kerry, issued a statement today. That the trans community has reached that level of political importance is noteworthy, and this increase in importance and exposure feeds on itself.
As much as Transgender Day of Remembrance is a time for memorializing those who have died, this day, this week, this month, this year, this lifetime and beyond need to be committed to ensuring the safety of all who place footprints on the Earth.
Though those who were killed in transphobic acts of violence in the past year may not have been known to us personally, many of us hold their memories in our minds and hearts as fallen brothers and sisters, so the recitation of the Kaddish seems especially fitting.