The Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) is held annually on November 20th of each year. During this day, we remember those in our community worldwide who have been killed simply for being transgender.
The Sienna staff would like to take a moment and thank everyone who came to our Transgender Day of Remembrance this year. Over the course of 2011-2012, 265 people were murdered due to their gender identity/expression around the world. It is a sad fact of life that we often live in a world hostile to people like us. While we as transgender people have it better in the United States than in other countries (most of the names this year were from Brazil), we still face social and economic adversity as well as continued denial of access to medical and psychological care.
We would also like to thank Pastor Sherry Roby and the Open Door Community Fellowship for allowing us to hold this year's TDOR in their church. We sincerely appreciate your kindness to us. We would also like to thank our speakers: Rebecca Grant, current president of Sienna, Holly Knight, a Sienna past president, Donald Taylor, Jr and Mrs. Charlena Andrews-Hayes for her prayers for the service. A special note of thanks goes to Lucian Grey and Darcie Greishaw for working so hard to put this event together for us this year. Lucian developed and printed the program, put together the speakers and finalized our list. Darcie secured the location through much hard work at the last moment. Thanks also goes out to Jan, Kelli, Jackie and Myralee for folding the programs and putting them together. A great note of appreciation also goes out to Lena Gayle and Darcie Greishaw for lighting our candles in memory of the lost. Lena has graciously offered to take the candles home after the ceremony and dispose of them in an honorable manner.
Charlena Andrews-Hayes, who offered the Prayer for Victims and Prayer of Hope, said it best when she said, "There are so many people, many of them unnamed, but you, Father, know them all." It is important that we realize that the TDOR list is not simply a list of names; it is a list of people, people who had lives, people who had families and friends. They, like all of us, also had hopes and dreams that now will never be fulfilled.
Holly Knight, head of Prism Direction, said, "It is difficult to know what to take away from the TDOR." Indeed it is. How can we continue on in a world where 265 people's lives can be snuffed out simply for being who they are? If we think of it this way, the burden weighs so heavy upon us. But can we celebrate the lives they did live? Can we honor the fact that they are not 'trans this' or 'trans that' but rather people, human beings?
Donald Taylor, Jr., leader of the Louisville Youth Group, had this to add, "like many people, I admit I am fearful: of using the wrong pronouns, of calling someone by the wrong name. However, I do not think I am the only one with those fears. Perhaps by my admittance, it can help other people overcome their fears." It is by overcoming fears and prejudices that we are able to build a better community and better world.
The full list of 265 people with available information can be found here.
More information on the TDOR and the Week of Awareness can be found here.
Please note that the Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary is hosting its own Transgender Day of Remembrance event this Wednesday, November 20th, starting at 9:00 AM at Caldwell Chapel. Please see our calendar for further details.
Please enjoy some video from the 2011 TDOR on YouTube via Holly Knight:
Updated 11/19/12 by Myralee