Today is the 12th annual international Transgender Day of Remembrance. I am lucky to know several transgender people in my life, some of whom I count among my dearest friends. I am even luckier that they don’t number among those lost to violence. The rates of violence against transgender people are so disgustingly high, and worse if you factor in the number of transgender people lost to suicide — a direct result of the hateful atmosphere towards transgender people in this country.
I’ve already written about how and why I try to be an ally to transgender people. I’m sure I don’t get it right all the time, and I’m lucky to have transgender friends who will let me know when I screw up and give me suggestions of how to be better.
Two things I know I can do are to be vocal, reminding those who don’t come into regular contact with transgender people that a) they exist and b) we’ve got a lot of work to do to make the world a safer place for them; and show up at events like tonight’s Transgender Day of Remembrance speakout and vigil at The Cathedral Church of St. Paul on Boston Common.
I first attended this event a few years ago, when I realized that so many transgender activists fight for gay rights that don’t necessarily benefit them, the least I could do was show up on days that are important to their causes. I was blown away by the speakers, the songs, the poignant mix of sadness and hope, and the tremendous fellowship among a mix of friends and strangers united by a cause. Since the first TDOR event I attended, the Boston vigil has grown in size — I can’t believe that 350 people have RSVP’ed yes on Facebook! But there’s still lots of work to be done.
There are events happening all over the globe this week. Check out the Transgender Day of Remembrance website to find out what’s happening in your community. Lend your voice in support, show up to be counted, and while you’re at it, write your legislators, clergy, school administrators, and others in power and ask them what they’re doing to make your community a safer place for all its members.