…and, it’s not even February.
My heart breaks time and time again with each passing post of another murder on the Trans Violence Facebook page. The murders are violent and senseless and many encompass such brutality they are often unspeakable.
One of the most powerful moments of 2017 for me was at TDoR in West Hollywood on November 17. I stood before an audience after being offered the chance to read the names aloud of two human beings who lost their lives last year to hate and contempt. Tears streamed down my face as I spoke their names, Ally Steinfeld and Ebony Morgan. There was vivid and palpable emotion in my speaking their names into the microphone. My voice producing a reality that seeing their names written down could never have done. Their souls became real to me; to us. They were no longer a name or a number. They were human. And, they lost their lives for living their truth.
We are them and they are we.
– Reverend Carmarion Anderson
I remember the sensation of speaking their names as the words passed from my lips. My voice wavering and wanting to diminish into a soft weeping whisper. With intention I dug deep inside myself, for I knew this was not a time to allow my voice to shrink. Quite the opposite, this was a time to speak their names clearly, slowly and most importantly, LOUDLY for all to hear. I knew it was my responsibility in that moment in time, as a member of our world’s community to stand for them even in their death. I remember studying their faces on the screen and wondering who they were, what were they like, who did they love, who loved them…I remember feeling so deeply connected to them and to the other 325 people whose names were read that night. It was an evening and experience that will be forever imprinted on my heart and mind.
From there, I charted a course to be there for the Trans community in whatever capacity I am capable of and am needed for. I am there for my cherished friend, Luna, ours such a dear friendship. I don’t think either of us ever expected it to take hold in the way that it has. I am there for TEEP doing career-related tasks and projects for the program, showing up and being of service. And, now, after contemplating what I can do to honor the people who have so tragically been taken from us this year I have chosen to start an Instagram channel, providing a space where their humanity can live forever in the public domain.
In seeing their faces they become real. In learning how they were taken from this earth they become real. It’s not easy reading or hearing of such violence, but in seeing the photos and reading about who they were, it may move us towards a collective reckoning of peace and empathy.