This Sunday marks the 13th Transgender Day of Remembrance. Events will be held all over the world.
In Halifax, a vigil will be held at Veith House
(Click here for more info) in the north end of the city.
But I’d rather pay homage to the people who made me care about this day.
In the past few years, I have found myself meeting more and more people who identify as transgender, especially younger individuals. I can’t think of what life would be like in this city if it weren’t for the hard work done by the Youth Project and their programs for trans youth. I don’t know if trans-identified youth would have such a strong voice without a strong support system.
I think about people like Tanya Bloomfield, whom I wrote about in these very pages. She wasn’t able to stay in Canada. I think about people like my friend Charles. I won’t out Charles by using his real name because he fears for his job security. He doesn’t know what would happen if he was outed as being FTM. I think about Jenn, whose name I also am changing, because she tells me that although she is lucky enough to “pass” for a woman, she is keenly aware that she doesn’t always have a safe space to be open about her gender identity. That doctors often push surgery on her and other trans women because “passing” is supposed to make things easier. Jenn doesn’t want surgery. She likes her body the way it is.
I’d like to say I find myself incredibly lucky to have friends who are transgender (including those who identify as transsexual, gender-queer or gender-variant). I could write about how brave they are (though they are) or how strong they can be (because they can). I could write about how deeply I respect them for doing something as simple as living their lives in the best way they know how. But they know these things instinctively, because that is how they live their lives.
What are we remembering? People who want to live their lives, and those who lost them.
While writing this post, I was sent to a trailer for a film called Tales of the Waria. The film follows the lives of four transgender women who live in Indonesia, home to the largest Muslim population of any country in the world. Check it out.