Transgender Day of Remembrance 2009 – the Exclusion Question Answered

Transgender Day of Remembrance 2009 – the Exclusion Question Answered

November 20, 2009 Commentary Thought of the Gay 5

Transgender Day of Remembrance 2009This year, I attended the Transgender Day of Remembrance ceremony at the Metropolitan Community Church (“MCC”) in San Antonio, Texas.  The services were planned and hosted by the San Antonio Gender Association (“SAGA”) with the chapel being provided by the MCC.  Ms. Lauryn Farris, President of SAGA, told those present that it was a celebration of remembrance and of hope.

Ms. Farris spoke of the words of E.B. White:

I wake up each morning torn between a desire to save the world and a desire to savor the world.

She went on to explain that Transgender Day of Remembrance was the “most important day” of the year for our trans brothers and sisters.  I took a moment to glance around the chapel, noting that several pews were empty.  The absence of the LGB community was noticeable and heartbreaking. Perhaps they decided it was their day to savor the world rather than reach out to help save it?

However, I recall the hundreds upon hundreds of LGBT people gathered for pride celebrations this past June, enough people to have turned the small chapel into a standing room only establishment, overflowing itself out into the streets.

I remember several community events over the past year that had members of SAGA present, standing soundly next to their friends and LGB family as we demanded marriage equality.  I watched one transgender woman stand before a group of 150 or so angry LGB people after the passage of Proposition 8 in California and explain the importance of a united voice, but those 150 people weren’t there on that MOST important day for our transgender friends.

Finally, a question for me was answered.  When people speak of exclusion, it is not about excluding them from our movement, it’s about excluding ourselves from theirs.  We must do better.

So now, I ask you my LGB brothers and sisters – who will you stand for other than yourself?  Will you go to your local gender association meeting and offer to help?  Can you spare some change or dollars to help them out?  Will you?

In honor of Transgender Day of Remembrance, and with help from wonderful web resources such as, I prepared the following video slide show:

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5 Responses

  1. wonderwillow says:

    I've been struggling with my own words for the same thoughts. Thank you.

    We absolutely MUST do better.

  2. Lonnie says:

    It's not enough to simply say "We must do better". I see no listing of events that LGB people can attend. Here in Seattle, we have at least three different events going on for TDOR and, because we marched together on October 11, we've made a commitment that there are no "your" issues or "my" issues: they are all OUR issues. That's why we've been promoting and cross-promoting events to encourage more people to come together and defend our lgbt brothers and sisters. The time for blaming people for not attending events they never knew about is past. We can't just plan events. We have to BUILD a movement. And that involves reaching out (even when you think the people you're reaching out to should already know) and speaking out.

    • jaysays says:

      Thank you Lonnie. You're right, I did not list the events. I have been linking to them tirelessly for over a week – while I did link to a listing of the events in the post, I did not list them individually here – many are over. The point though is not blame, I'll save that for another day. It is an observation on what the fuss about "exclusion" is in our community.

      You are right, we must build a movement – but must the architect also design the building, lay the foundation, set up the walls, put on the doors, paint the rooms and cut the ribbon at the ceremony? At some point our community needs to take responsibility and do a quick Google search for "Transgender Day of Remembrance 2009 events" (you can even include your city name for more accurate results, or perhaps click on the link in the post to and find listings of events around the world.

      I'm very sorry that Seattle made such an agreement. I would hope WE people would WANT to go to these events, not negotiate to go to them – but I'm glad you are all working together, whatever the reason.

  3. Mary Jo says:

    Can I just say what an amazing writer you are becoming?

Comments are closed.