Transgender Day of Remembrance

On the 20th of November, the Transgender Day of Remembrance, I attended a Baltimore rally and banquet to memorialize those in my community that we have lost due to acts of self harm and transphobia. This was my first time ever going to any sort of LGBTQ+ community event, and I didn’t know what to expect. I came out last December and only recently have I begun to really embrace myself as who I am.

The event was to begin at four in the afternoon by the Ynot Lot on North Avenue, but I arrived a few minutes early. I was anxious to get the rally started, but everyone else seemed to be at Red Emma’s, the coffee shop on the same block, because of the freezing weather. Eventually, people began to line up and group themselves together until a reasonably sized crowd filled the Ynot Lot. A wave of emotions hit me– I had never been around this many people like me, so many people from all different backgrounds who experience the same kind of struggles, all in one place.

At the center of the lot was a stage, where a tall, powerful woman spoke into a megaphone. She talked about the twenty-six lives that we lost this year and the fact that the number only seems to grow. Even though our country seems to be going backwards (considering the recent turn of events this past election year), she told us that now is the time to unite and be together. That goes for everyone.

Due to the chilly weather, the march was cut short, and I was ushered into a church where the banquet was being held along with two new friends I had made, Poe and Vien. Christmas lights were hung around the ceiling, and the room felt warm and positive. There were a few more speakers from all walks of life who talked about growing up trans. There were musicians and poets– it really did feel like family.

After the event, one statistic really stuck inside me. While the news and the media claim that there have been 26 deaths of transgender individuals, that figure doesn’t even include those who were afraid to come out. It doesn’t include nonbinary folk, who aren’t even talked about in the LGBTQ+ community itself. The widely cited figure barely includes transmen, whose deaths aren’t covered in the media nearly as much as deaths of transwomen are. One speaker from the event noted the total number of deaths was at least 27, because one of his own brothers was killed and wasn’t given media coverage.

The Transgender Day of Remembrance, while officially memorialized on November 20th, should not be the only day of remembrance for the lives lost every year. It shouldn’t be just a trending hashtag or a march. It shouldn’t end here. Attending the gathering on the 20th opened my eyes to many organizations I had no idea existed. It showed me a world I wasn’t seeing, a world that the news just doesn’t seem to be covering. At the march and banquet, I realized that I wasn’t alone, but I also realized that now is the time to fight back, to get involved.

Below is a list of those 26 transwomen who have been killed in the past year.

This is by no means a complete list of names. Nor is it the first list, or the last.

Noony Norwood, 30

Sierra/Simon Bush, 18

Brandi Bledsoe, 32

Jazz Alford, 30

Crystal Edmonds, 32

T.T., age unknown (late 20s, early 30s)

Lexxi T. Sironen, 43

Rae’Lynn Thomas, 28

Erykah Tijerina, 36

Skye Mockabee, 26

Dee Whigham, 25

Deeniquia Dodds, 22

“Goddess” Diamond, 20

Amos Beede, 38

Mercedes Successful, 32

Tyreece “Reecey” Walker, 32

Keyonna Blakeney, 22

Shante Isaac, 34

Quartney Davia Dawsonn-Yochum, 32

Kedarie/Kandicee Johnson, 16

Denmarkis Stansberry, 30

Maya Young, 24

Veronica Banks Cano, age unknown (mid 30s)

Kayden Clarke, 24

Jasmine Sierra, age unknown

Monica Loera, age unknown

 

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