What does Trans Day of Remembrance mean in a world that appears to be entering an age of heightened fascism? For me, today is a somber reminder that anti-trans violence is killing our people. And that every waking day, that violence could take another life.
Today, we honor those we’ve lost and we carry their legacy forward. Today, we practice remembrance not only for our people but the history that is woven through each of their lives.
While many people believe that we live in a time where LGBTQ progress has made the most headway, we must remember that many precolonial cultures around the world acknowledged people who one might call transgender or gender nonconforming today.
The hijra of India, the muxe of the Zapotec people, the nádleehi of the Navajo people, the ashtime of the Maale people, and the waria of Indonesia. These are all historical examples of gender expressions that didn’t neatly fit into cisgender male and female roles. They prove to us that human beings are more expansive than what gender prescribes for us.
This resurgence of far-right nationalism across the world has not arrived out of the blue. It is a backlash to the natural tide of social change. When the Trump administration announced a memo that would redefine gender to effectively erase transness from existence, it went against the grain of much older history. The United States is an infant-country compared to the history of gender-variant people in the world. We have lineages extending way before the first colonist stepped foot on Native land in the Western hemisphere.
This is what we must remember today, as we mourn and envision a future that nurtures rather than kills trans people. The fight for trans lives is inherently a fight for the recognition of all people’s full humanity. We need trans people to have affirming, comprehensive care. We need trans people to have warm, loving homes. We need an end to mass incarceration and the harm that it does to trans people who are disproportionately locked up according to the wrong gender.
We need a future where transness is not only accepted — it should be actively celebrated.
Join us and take a moment to read through the names of those we’ve lost this year. They each had their own families, dreams, and fears. May we all remember them and work together to create lasting change in their memory.
Viccky Gutierrez, 33
Celine Walker, 36
Tonya Harvey, 35
Zakaria Fry, 28
Sasha Wall, 29
Nino Fortson, 36
igi Pierce, 28
Antash’a English, 38
Diamond Stephens, 39
Keisha Wells, 54
Sasha Garden, 27
Vontashia Bell, 18
Dejanay Stanton, 24
Shantee Tucker, 30
Londonn Moore, 20
Nikki Enriquez, 28