By Jo Michael, Equality California Legislative Manager
Last week’s election leaves us in a landscape where supporting each other within and across marginalized communities is more important than ever. So is remembering the challenges our communities have faced, the losses we have experienced, and the ways we have persevered.
The transgender community collectively has faced many obstacles, and has proven itself to have a deep resilience. I am proud to be a part of this strong and vibrant community, locally in Sacramento, in our state, our country, and the world. Transgender Day of Remembrance connects the trans and gender non-conforming communities around the world. It gives us — and our loved ones — a way to share our collective grief over the losses our communities have experienced, to support each other, and to gather our strength for whatever the future holds for us.
We build and foster communities in general to make us all stronger, to keep us all safer, especially the most vulnerable among us. The people we remember and honor during Transgender Day of Remembrance are among those most vulnerable. Most at risk. Most in danger. They are among the most harmed by the intersections of oppression that marginalize people: racism, classism, sexism, ableism, ageism, homophobia, transphobia, to name a few. The more of these systems of oppression work against a person, the harder it is for them to meet their basic needs—or even simply to survive. Trans communities often share some of these forms of marginalization, but even within the trans community there are significant differences in people’s experiences and privileges. Transgender Day of Remembrance brings us all together and builds our strength as a community.
The trans community will need its collective resilience now more than ever to keep lifting up the voices of the most vulnerable among us—the transwomen of color who bear the brunt of the violence, targeting and profiling facing our community; the transgender undocumented people who live under the threat of detention and deportation; the transgender and gender nonconforming young people who are on the streets because their homes were not safe for them. These are the voices that most need to be heard, not just this week or this month, but all year long, especially during these uncertain times. Most importantly during Transgender Day of Remembrance, we hold space for our sisters, brothers, and siblings who lost their lives as a result of the violence and animus directed at transgender and gender nonconforming people, the overwhelming majority of whom are transgender women of color. Transgender Day of Remembrance helps us understand that remembering is a part of looking forward.