As TDOR 2008 recedes into the rear view mirror of history I wish to comment on the efforts of some people in the transgender community to turn the Transgender Day of Remembrance ceremony into a happy-happy joy-joy event.
Leave the TDOR alone.
There are 365 days in a year (366 during leap years), which is probably why our presidential election campaigns seem so endless.
If you wish to have an event that takes a happy-happy joy-joy approach to publicizing transgender issues, by all means organize it and promote the hell out of it. If it's a good one and has no connection whatsoever to the Homosexual Rights Corporation, I'll even post whatever press release you put together for this event on TransGriot.
Just pick some other calendar date to do it.
Just as Memorial Day and Veterans Day are two calendar days specifically set aside to memorialize veterans and anyone who has paid the ultimate price for us to have what freedoms we do enjoy here in the States, we transgender peeps need that same kind of day to memorialize the people we've lost as well.
The TDOR is a memorial service and as such is a serious, contemplative event. The core element of it is the reading of the names and lighting of candles for the dearly departed.
The TDOR in addition to us ensuring the names of our fallen brothers and sisters don't fade from our memories with the passage of time, is also a way for us to initiate teachable moments with our allies, do coalition building, talk to the general public about our issues, and sometimes get the bonus of media coverage as well.
The TDOR is also important to transgender people of color as well. We get precious little media coverage and people of color make up the disproportionate share of the 412 people (and counting) memorialized on the Remembering Our Dead site.
As a matter of fact, since the other thing we African American transgender peeps share with our non-transgender brothers and sisters besides our heritage is a near invisibility in the media, there was a proposal a few years ago by some peeps in the African-American transgender community to have our own event.
It would be centered on the August 7 date of Tyra Hunter's death due to the ignorant negligence of an African-American EMT in Washington DC.
The proposed day's mission would be to publicize the fact that many of the anti-transgender murders of African-American transgender people are committed by our own people. It would also seek to do some 'ejumacation' of our community around those and other issues affecting us and point out that 60% of the ROD list is transpeople of color.
But when it was pointed out that Rita Hester's murder was the impetus that led to the TDOR, and that day was now being celebrated around the world, the chatter about a separate day, even though it's a wonderful idea that probably needs to happen, went dormant.
If my fellow transpeeps of African descent realize the importance of the world pausing to contemplate anti-transgender violence, then what's the problem with the cognitive abilities of those of you trying to mess with the TDOR's simplistic perfection for specious reasons?
I will go Maya Wilkes on you quislings if what I'm hearing about this effort to change the 'morbid and depressing' TDOR's is true and the unstated purpose is to grease the skids for HRC to resume raising funds in our community on the bones of our fallen brothers and sisters.