Tomorrow is the Transgender Day of Awareness, and since I’m going to be traveling, I’m afraid I may miss it. I hope not because airlines are never running behind, right? Just in case, I’m posting what I had planned to say at the event. It’s not a super memorable speech or anything, but it’s from the heart and in the spirit of remembering our poor fallen sisters and taking strength in our identities. Not my usual verbose self this morning, but waking up at 3:45 after tossing and turning all night (I get nervous before flying) it’s the best I can muster.
Tonight we are here to remember those who are not.
On this date last year, every one of these names we are reading aloud had living vibrant individuals attached.
Many may have been at remembrance ceremonies much like this one, surrounded by friends, family and allies.
It’s easy to remember them like that.
Warm faces flush with the strength of fellowship and beaming of the hope engendered by the belief that things are changing.
In a room like this, they felt like we do now; supported and safe.
They too had family and friends, loved ones and allies.
They were daughters and sons, brothers and sisters, lovers and best friends, moms and dads.
Instead of joining us here tonight, they perished.
Instead of being warmly embraced, their final moments were fear and pain, crying for help at the feet of those who declared them abominations.
Many remain unidentified because they had no one willing to lay claim to association or blood.
It’s hard when we think that can be any of us.
Tonight we remember them because they died for no better reason than being alive and who they were.
We are all here tonight to remember because we chose to live, just as they did.
We are here in spite of the abhorrent fates suffered by our own, even knowing it might be our names read next year.
We are here because we will no longer hide in our homes or within ourselves, but live and breathe in the freedom that comes with being true to ourselves.
We know that there is no life worth living but our own, no matter what the risk, no matter what the cost, no matter what the outcome.
To those dear souls who paid too highly, we remember you, we honor you, and in your names we will work tirelessly toward a day of no more vigils, no more candles, and the freedom to walk the earth in full honesty to ourselves and others without fear.