This time of year is always tough for me, and each year feels like it compounds with the previous. 2020, though, really seemed to outdo itself, with the whole global pandemic and all. I’ve really had to spend a lot of time rethinking the ways in which I do every aspect of my life—even things that should be more “simple,” like self care—due to my personal and professional worlds now being combined into a corner of a room in my apartment.
But yet, Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoR) tends to be a moment of clarity for me in a time of dreariness. As depressing as the history of the day is (see more here), it’s a chance for me to reflect on myself: who I am, where I’m going, and where I want to be. And this day never fails to humble me and remind me of the many ways in which I am so privileged where others in the trans community are not, especially our Black trans sisters around the world.
Unsurprisingly, this year has been especially brutal to trans people of color. Murders of trans people have spiked alarmingly during the pandemic, with at least 28 murdered in the first seven months of 2020.That’s more than in all of 2019 (source). Most of the trans people who were killed in 2020 were women, with Black and Latina trans women particularly at risk for violence. COVID is making more and more people unemployed, homeless, and with nowhere to go. With numbers spiking yet again, it’s hard to see an end to the deaths and disparities.
But in this bleakness, I urge all those who care about trans folks – both in the LGBTQ+ community and allies – to do what I am planning to do this year. Double down on your commitment to the trans and nonbinary community and take action like never before.
Some of the biggest things you can do to help out right now are things you can do without ever leaving your bedroom. Here are some ideas to get you started:
For me this TDoR, I am making a commitment, both inside and outside of my day job at FreeState, to donate my time, money, energy, and expertise to the trans community here in Maryland to those who most need it. I am acknowledging that there is always work to be done, regardless of what wins or losses happen in the political realm, and that there are always members of our community that are in need. I am accepting and using my privilege as a white masculine person to ensure that my Black trans siblings are not forgotten about by highlighting the need to my white friends and family members and calling on them to take action with me. This work cannot start and stop with me. I pledge to continue this work for as long as I’m here, in the hopes that one day a trans person will not be beaten or killed for simply being themselves.
As we honor TDoR this year and remember those we have lost to anti-trans violence, I hope you join me in imagining our collective future and where we can be if we all just pitch in together.
In remembrance and solidarity,