It’s Trans Awareness Week (TAW) across the country; that means communities everywhere are busy holding educational and social events. This week of events culminates with an event called Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR): a candlelight vigil where we remember and memorialize people around the world who have died for being Trans or gender non-conforming. TDOR started here in Boston, after a woman by the name of Rita Hester was murdered in Allston just for being who she is: a Trans woman of color.
Rita Hester was murdered in Allston
just for being who she is
When I was still a baby queer, I like so many others trying to figure out identity, searched high and low for community. I had been exposed to the lesbian and gay community; a community that has become it’s own culture, complete with genre music, media icons and cruise ships. As compelling and as shiny as this world of unicorns and rainbows is, it was not where I belonged.
What I found instead, was TDOR, and let me say, it was a stark difference. TDOR is not a glitter clad parade down Main Street USA. There are no Dykes on Bikes or Go-Go boys. It is NOT a celebration. It is a somber, solemn event, where the names of murder victims are read from a frighteningly long list. And as dark as this event can be (there is often weeping involved) it continues to be one of the largest events for the Trans community: a time to be with friends and loved ones, and time to recognize our fallen.
TDOR is not a glitter clad parade down Main Street USA.
I like to remind people that gay pride in the USA was catalyzed by the Stonewall Riots in NYC. On that fateful night in June of 1969, a group of drag queens and butch dykes had the gall to fight back. They took a stand and said they would not be targeted any longer for their gender presentation or identity. The modern gay civil rights movement owes it’s start to Trans and gender non conforming people who were getting abused, killed and persecuted.
They took a stand and said they would not be targeted any longer for their gender presentation or identity.
TDOR is in all our roots. Please remember. To find a TDOR event in your neighborhood, please visit http://www.transgenderdor.org/.
Maxwell N. is an American Asian transman who has lived in Boston for almost 15 years. He is the Vice-Chair of the Massachusetts Trans Political Coalition (MTPC), a founding member of the Trailblazers, the Boston based softball team for trans and gender variant people, and serves on the Steering Committee for QAPA (Queer Asian Pacific-Islander Alliance). He is passionate about visibility for Queer Asians, and strives to bring the issues that impact our enriched communities to the forefront. In his professional life, he works as an architect.
Fellow QAPA members, please take a moment to call your state lawmaker to support this very important piece of legislature:
Dear MTPC Supporter,
I am writing you with important news.
Lawmakers are expected to vote on the Transgender Equal Rights bill TODAY or TOMORROW.
Please take a moment NOW to contact your state lawmakers to ask for their support of this bill.
Your request for support from state lawmakers is vital. Opponents of the bill have been swamping the inboxes of lawmakers. Lawmakers need to know that the public and their constituents support this bill!
Over the next 24 hours, it is critical that lawmakers hear from bill supporters!
MassEquality will be phonebanking in support of the bill all day tomorrow. And we need volunteers! During phone banks, we talk to constituents and transfer supporters of the bill directly to their lawmakers’ voicemail boxes so they can leave messages in support of the bill. Call Justin at 617.878.2344 to sign up or send him an email!
In the days ahead, you may hear confusing things about this bill. To be clear, this bill provides vital protections in employment, education, housing, credit, and hate crimes which transgender residents of the Commonwealth desperately need. The bill is not perfect as it does not include public accommodations protections, but it is a solid civil rights bill that represents an historic step forward in supporting full civil rights protections for the transgender community.
Gunner Scott, MTPC Executive Director
For more information, go to http://www.masstpc.org/.