Saturday, November 21, 2009

remember, remember

Every November people around the world participate in the Transgender Day of Remembrance, or TDOR; if you are like me, disconnected as I was from my community until recently, this has likely entered your consciousness peripherally if at all. This day, this remembrance, is a very visceral reminder that silence, yes, it equals death, and not always just metaphorically. Trans people face levels of violence which I, being who I am and looking how I look, can't begin to understand, mentally and emotionally and physically, from physical harassment to glances and comments on the train to death. I don't want to talk knowingly about something I haven't experienced personally, but I feel this deep in my chest and I know that the very very least I can do is to be aware, be vocal, make clear where my loyalties lie and and what kind of vision I have for the future. That would be, perhaps, a day where everybody knows about TDOR but where we hold vigils for far fewer of the lost.

I want to think of this as I think of the Day of the Dead, where I can both mourn and release, contemplate passage and presence, cry but also say goddammit, you are beautiful and I am beautiful and life is beautiful and what we should all be doing is to try and make that more true for every single person every single day. There are no exceptions. You could die tomorrow. I could die tomorrow too, but it's far less likely. Such things cannot be allowed to rule our lives, and I know that's easier to say from where I stand but I want to be there with you, to love you and stand with you and say that we are not so different, despite what other people might think. Your life is not the same as mine, but that doesn't have to make you Other; it just makes you a person, alive and variable and lovely in your flux and flow just as I am, and I want to learn from you and love the world more because of it. I want kinship, offered and received on both sides.

Go learn something, ask somebody if you can give them a hug, light a candle and raise your voice and don't forget what has happened, but don't lose the vision of something better. Please, because this is important; it could mean our lives. We are so much more than just a day to commemorate loss. There are so many ways to remember. There are so many ways to celebrate. There are so many ways to fight.

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