It’s Trans Day of Remembrance.
This is for my trans siblings. The entire amazing spectrum of us. The way we are part of every community, the way we hold every possible intersecting identity. This is especially for my trans siblings who are on the margins, not because of anything internal but because of enforced marginality, the pushing out from the centre, the unnecessary creation of scarcity and risk. This is for my trans siblings who are Indigenous, Black, and brown, disabled, neurodivergent, young or old, fat, unhoused, sex working, un- or underemployed, who are in unsafe and hostile contexts.
I love us.
In this year of intense and layered grief, I love us with a love that comes from the root of anger – love that is also rage against injustice, love that is also a refusal to accept injustice as inevitable. It is *not* inevitable.
But, if it’s not inevitable, what else is possible?
What other worlds and ways might be possible?
On this day, I am reflecting on these questions, and I am inviting you to join me:
- What are the stories that you were first told about trans lives and trans people? Do you remember the first time you learned that we exist?
- If these first stories were hostile, skeptical, or degrading, how did you learn to resist them, refuse them, or re-author them? What has been the effect of these stories on your life? What has been the effect of your refusal?
- If these first stories were welcoming, affirming, and honouring, what did this make possible in your life? What has been the effect of these stories on your life?
- Who told you these first stories? What was their relationship to trans lives and trans people?
- What was the first story you heard directly from a trans person about trans lives and trans people? What changed for you, what became possible, when you started hearing stories directly from trans people?
- When did you first feel grief for how trans people are treated? What did this grief change in your life? What did it make possible?
- When was the first time you learned that trans experience also includes joy and ease? What did this learning make possible in your life?
- If you are a trans person, what has kept you connected to the possibility of your own life? What do you hold onto? What do you cherish? What do you know is true about you, even in moments when hostile contexts might seek to distance you from this self-knowledge?
Today, we honour our dead. There are too many. Too many of us track our lives against the average and know that we are in danger.
But also, today we fight for the living. Care for the living. Hold space – cis folks, especially, make sure you hold this space! – for what is vibrant and vital about trans lives, trans communities, trans people. Listen to stories from trans folks.
Read stories about our possible futures, not just our traumas or our pasts. If you need a book recommendation, pick up Love After the End, edited by Joshua Whitehead, full of Indigiqueer and Two Spirit speculative fiction.
In Undrowned: Black Feminist Lessons from Marine Mammals, Alexis Pauline Gumbs writes, “Breathing in unbreathable circumstances is what we do every day in the chokehold of racial gendered ableist capitalism.”
It’s TDoR, and we are breathing in unbreathable circumstances. We are naming and honouring those who are no longer breathing with us. We are naming and knowing that access to breath is differential, even within the trans community. We are not each equally under threat, even though we are all under threat.
Hold the margins in the centre of this day. Gather them all in. Everything we are told is unloveable and unliveable, bring those threads in. Find their stories. Breathe.
(Maybe cry a bit, too. I know I am.)