Today, as most of you are aware, is Transgender Day of Remembrance. This day has been set aside to memorialize transgender people who have been killed in the past year. The Transgender Day of Remembrance was launched in 1999 by Gwendolyn Ann Smith in honor Rita Hester, who had been killed the year before, on December 4th. Since then, it has since grown in momentum, leading to candlelight vigils held worldwide to honour those we have lost. It’s common, at these gatherings, for a list of names to be read out, so the names of those we have lost will be remembered and their lives meditated on. This year, though, we want to go beyond the names.
The list of transgender individuals who have been killed this year is much too long for any one person to share in great detail. The solution, then, is not to let the job fall to any one person, but to do what the queer community does best; come together, and bear the burden on thousands of backs instead of one.
Over the course of this coming week, we encourage everyone who is able to go through the list and find a name. Once you have found one, do a bit of research and tell that person’s story. Tell it in whichever way you feel most appropriate - poetry, prose, paintings, or through any form which you prefer. If tonight you go to a memorial, as I am going to, remember a name. Write it down, and when you get home, do some research. If you are not able to go to a memorial for any reason, there is a list here http://transrespect.org/en/trans-murder-monitoring/tmm-resources/ for you to go through.
We challenge you, this coming week, to make the name you chose more than a name. Get to know the person behind it, and if you are able, share what you have learned. If you want what you have created to be shared on the Queer History Tumblr, use the hashtag #morethannames and tag us. We will share these creations with our audience. If you can’t do that for any reason, we will be posting a short article every day this week dedicated to someone on that list.
We are writing that article for you. For those who are unable, count our contribution as your own. The aim of this project has always been to tell the stories other people won’t, but this week we will also be telling the stories other people can’t.
To keep up with this, follow our project on Tumblr, Instagram, and Facebook. If you need to block this out for any reason, that is fine. We will be using the tag #morethannames for everything regarding the Transgender Day of Remembrance, and if you need to unfollow us this week, we will understand.
Again, I urge all those who can contribute to do so, to share the story of someone who the world would prefer we forgot. Help us make queer history.
[Disclaimer: some of the sources may contain triggering material]
Trans Respect Versus Transphobia Worldwide. Trans Murder Monitorin (TMM) - Updates.
Retrieved November 22 2016 from http://transrespect.org/en/trans-murder-monitoring/tmm-resources/
Wikipedia. Transgender Day of Remembrance. Retrieved November 22 2016 from