PERSONAL ESSAY / POLITICS
From Quarantine to Trans Day of Remembrance to Mass Shooting in a Gay Bar
I got a call from the Health Department on Friday morning informing me that I was quarantined until Friday evening. This was a weird effect of finding out late that I had COVID-19. I felt better, so I went to work on Saturday morning, wearing my mask as recommended.
During my shift, I remember asking a friend who lives in Colorado Springs why trans people here keep warning me not to go there. I couldn’t have known that the news would answer my question the next morning.
After work, I raced home to pick up my wife, so we could make it to the very end of a local vigil for Transgender Day of Remembrance. If you aren’t familiar with this, Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR), is a day when we take time for those in our wider trans community who were murdered each year. The official date is today, Sunday, November 20, but the vigils can be held anytime throughout the weekend.
Over the years, I’ve watched different communities handle this cultural trauma in their own ways. This event can be an act of mourning, of recognition, a call to action to protect and care for the living, a celebration of every life lost, a celebration of the all the trans lives that are still being lived to the fullest. There’s usually a lot of food, poetry, and music. Sometimes, there’s also dancing and alters and artwork to commemorate the lives of the dead.
I’ve also had some friends in our community say that they tend to isolate on this day because it’s too painful for them to confront a social media barrage of graphically violent stories about what so many of our people have experienced. We each cope and process in the ways that work for us.
We made it just in time to hear some wonderful music and see a slide show with the pictures and stories of each of the beautiful humans we lost this year to anti-trans violence. The pattern in the faces were very clear. 19 of the 32 people we lost in the United States trans community this year were Black trans women.