Transgender Day of Remembrance

Over at The Feminist Wire, Princess Harmony writes an important essay about the Transgender Day of Remembrance, which takes place every year on November 20th and serves as a day of communal mourning for all the lives lost to anti-transgender violence. Princess Harmony reminds us of the struggles and injustices that trans people--specifically trans women of color--face on a daily basis and how their lives are seen as disposable, as not grievable. The Transgender Day of Remembrance makes a space for mourning and shows how essential it is to remember and honor the dead:

On November 20, 2013, Transgender Day of Remembrance, take a moment to remember the extraordinary lives that trans women of color live in order to survive in this hostile society. Remember that while we might not live the way you live, or share in all of your struggles, we too suffer under a patriarchy that wants to control all of us and destroy those of us who resist its’ control. If trans women aren’t killed by lovers or by clients, we are killed by the police that are supposed to protect all citizens, or we are killed by prejudiced doctors and emergency personnel that refuse to do their jobs. When a sister dies, does she get justice? Most of the time, the answer is no. If the defendants don’t give the “trans panic” defense, then some other failure of the justice system will take place. That is, if the murderers are even arrested or if the death is investigated.
If what I have written has not delivered the message, then I will say it as clearly as I can: the lives of trans women of color are often impossibly difficult, and yet, many of us are able to survive. We live on as daughters, friends, lovers, coworkers, and as humans. Remember that we are human beings just like you. We struggle with life’s challenges and we survive in spite of a patriarchy that tries to destroy us, similar to many of you. Our deaths may go unheeded by the majority, but know that trans women hurt every time each one of us dies unjustly. Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) is a sacred day. It is a day to mourn those we have lost, whether we knew them or not. It should be a day for mourning and nothing else. It is a day that we mourn our dead, many of whom do not get mourned on any day other than TDOR. It is also the day that our anger boils down to us seeking justice for those who have not received it.