November 14th, 2008

Santa Monica Pier

Marriage Rights and the Right to Live

Cross posted from my own journal, sjwarrior , denver_glbt , postqueer 

On the eve of a major national protest by the LGBT community against the passing of Prop 8 and other anti-queer initiatives, I am struck once again by the incredible amount of publicity that movement is receiving. At least relative to another major queer event taking place later in the week, Transgender Day of Remembrance.

While I totally support equal rights, including marriage for those who choose it, my heart is just not it this weekend. Every November, folks gather around the world for Transgender Day of Remembrance (http://www.transgenderdor.org/?cat=4 ). It is a day to reflect, honor, and memorialize the many trans people who have died due to transphobia.

In the last few weeks two more transwomen have been found dead. Both with suspicious circumstances. One of these deaths occurred in CO (http://www.aurorasentinel.com/articles/2008/11/13/news/doc491bc4a3da41b421189587.txt) , making it the second trans death CO this year. The other occurred in TN (http://www.myeyewitnessnews.com/news/local/story.aspx?content_id=f3bb7d09-2602-4c9f-a033-2b9f8fca3018).

My email boxes and social network sites have been flooded with calls to join the national protests taking place across the country on Saturday. These calls have come from individuals, organizations, and ad-hoc groups. I have have received little information about the recent trans deaths and TDOR events and what little I have received has been through predominately trans list serves and networking sites. There is something wrong with this picture in my mind.

So again, while I want equal marriage rights and adoption rights for all my queer brothers and sisters, what I want even more is the right for trans people to live full, whole lives. The right to living a life of truth must come first and I want to know when there will be mass, national protests over the deaths of these beautiful souls that have been taken from us far too soon and in often ugly, hateful ways.

I often don't make the actual services for TDOR, because they always fall on my son AJ's birthday, but I always do something to mark the occasion. Here are the details on this year's service in Denver (other services, worldwide can be found at http://www.transgenderdor.org/?cat=4 ):

Gender Identity Center of Colorado will be holding a service at the Washington Park United church of Christ on 400 S. Williams St. from 7:00 to 9:00 pm on Nov. 20th For more information, contact the Gender Identity Center at 303-202-6460 or email TG Spirit at tgspirit@aol.com

I plan to attend and I hope that those of you willing to stand on the steps of our government buildings across the country and ask for equal rights will also show up to a TDOR event and pay homage to our trans brothers and sisters in the struggle who have been taken from us far too soon.

I am acutely aware of how close I came to losing my life becasue of who I am just a year and half ago. I am blessed to have survived my assault and feel it necessary, even lifesaving, to continue to put forth the call for support of transgender people. Let us remember that trans people are not disposable people - we are parents and partners, we are friends and lovers, we are children and siblings, we are homeless and homeowners - we are people. And we deserve love, respect, and most importantly, life.

Ase.