Remembrance, Resilience, and Revolutionary Love

On the eve of Trans Day of Remembrance and Trans Day of Resilience, our communities gather in the candlelight cast by our kindred who have become ancestors too soon.

2021 was the deadliest record year on record for trans and gender diverse people, with more than 50 confirmed murders. In 2022, we have “already seen at least 32 transgender people fatally shot or killed by other violent means.” The vast majority of these folks continue to be Black and Latinx trans women, and we see more immigrants, more trans men, and more states reflected in these losses.

One life lost is too many, and these 32 people are loved and important members of our community who are no longer physically with us. Let us take a moment together to speak their names out loud, light a candle for them, and hold them in our hearts.

We remember, not because trans people are a fad, but precisely because we are not. Trans and gender-diverse people have always existed. Earlier this year, I reminded us that in the Pacific Northwest we have evidence of trans life as old as some of these states themselves (for example, Harry Allen). Despite this fact, the Pacific Northwest continues to be host to laws that seek to erase trans and gender-diverse people from existence. A collective victory from this work over the last year has been that in Alaska, S.B. 140 which would have banned trans girls from sports that aligned with their gender-identity, and in Idaho H.B. 675 which would have criminalized providers of gender-affirming medical procedures, were both shelved.

Shelving anti-trans legislation is not enough though. The Pacific Northwest, no less than the world at large, must become inhospitable to transphobia and hate.

This year, we have seen the “Lavender Ceiling” crack across our region with Alaska and Montana electing their first-ever queer and trans state legislators, Tina Kotek in Oregon becomes one of the first out lesbian governors in the history of the US (the other being Maura Healey who also won her gubernatorial race this fall in Massachusetts), nationally democrats have retained control of the senate, and this year out LGBTQ+ candidates ran in every single state with only Louisiana and Mississippi remaining as the only states to have never elected an out LGBTQ state lawmaker.    

Nevertheless, elections are not the only way to measure the movement towards Trans liberation. Despite a decrease in overall funding for LGBTQ+ organizations in the philanthropic sector at large, this year Pride Foundation awarded historic levels of grants, launched our first Trans Advocacy Cohort (stay tuned for more news about this in the new year), and our partnership with gender-diverse BIPOC has brought together storytellers for future messaging work. Above all, we have found ways to care and mourn for each other despite every motivation not to.

Below you’ll find virtual and in-person opportunities to commemorate #TDOR, and no matter what you do, remember that people do not die from being trans, they die from transphobia and identity-based hate and stigma. Every single trans and gender-diverse person is an irreplaceable star and we should remember them not as names on a list, but as members of our families and communities whose light should guide us to do better. For this reason, we have also included links below to learn more about some of the historical contributions made by trans and gender-diverse people to society (and we are looking forward to sharing more from our region in the coming years).

The names of our trans and gender-diverse kindred are vital so that the past may yet have another future, one in which trans and gender-diverse people are not only remembered or resilient, but capable of expressing complexity as much as laughter, capable of being who they are wherever they are.

In-person and virtual Trans Day of Remembrance events across the region:

  • Add the Words, Idaho is hosting a TDOR Community Healing Space (virtual)
  • North Idaho Pride Alliance is hosting a TDOR Gathering on Sunday November 20th (in person in Coeur D’Alene)
  • Rogue Action Center in Oregon is hosting a hybrid TDOR even Sunday from 1 PM to 4 PM (virtual + in person in Grants Pass, OR)
  • UTOPIA WA is hosting a Trans Awareness Week of events (virtual + in person in Kent, WA)

Resources on trans and gender-diverse innovations (these are shared for educational purposes):

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