I’ve been thinking all day about what I wanted to say for Transgender Day of Remembrance. When it comes to days like this, it can feel like we’re rehashing the same damn thing over and over again. Trans people are still getting murdered at a horrifyingly disproportionate rate. Trans women, particularly trans women of colour, even more so. Even in Ireland, where murder rates are far lower than places like the US (for everyone), my trans (especially transfeminine) friends face a constant undercurrent of violence.
Here’s what I said three years ago:
I guess that we’re all a little bit selfish. We all love who we love, and though we care for those outside that little group, it’s the loss of our family, friends and lovers that tears at our guts and rips our lives apart. So every year on November 20th I feel a little bit lucky. The people I love are still here.
It’s a cruel kind of luck, and one that nobody should have to feel.
Like most of us, I’ve said goodbye to people I love over the years. They’ve died in different circumstances. Some after long years of illness. Some after short months or weeks. Some expected, some unexpected. Some peacefully, some in pain. The loss of every single one of them tore- and tears- my heart apart. But there’s one thing that is common to every one of them that I will always take comfort from. Every one of them died knowing that they were dearly loved. Everything that we could do to ease their suffering was done. They didn’t want for a hand to hold. They were cherished as they died.
Nobody can tell how each of us will end our lives. But that one simple thing- that in our last moments we know that we are loved and cherished, and that if there is any way to ease our suffering it will be done- is something that we can hope for everyone we care for. It’s the one thing that we can do.
Too many of our trans community are denied that.
So every year on November 20th we gather and we take time to remember the trans people who didn’t make it this far. Whose last moments were hatred, violence, contempt. Whose deaths were nothing but sport for those for whom their lives meant less than nothing. The latest victims in our wars of privilege and oppression. The overwhelming numbers of, in particular, poor trans women of colour, caught in the crossfire of too many intersections of hate. We gather together in the cold. Send short-lived, brightly burning lights into the darkness.
And every year I hold my loved ones closer.