Friday, November 23, 2007

Remembering our Dead

TransGriot Note: Ethan's aunt, Debra Forte is on the Remembering our Dead list.

by Ethan St Pierre
from the Bilerico Project
November 21, 2007

There are many things in my activist life that I am passionate about and I often wear my heart on my sleeve when it comes to the people in our community and the way we are often treated by society at large and our own Government. During the impassioned speech delivered by Barney Frank on the House floor during the ENDA debate, Frank was right about one thing: it is personal. I must admit that while being removed from ENDA was like a punch in the stomach, nothing can compare to the impact the Remembering Our Dead web project and the Transgender Day of Remembrance has had on me.

Prior to 2002, I had visited the Remembering Our Dead website while searching for specific information but it wasn't until 2002 that former NTAC Chair, Vanessa Edwards Foster recruited me to work on a project with her, which entailed going through the whole website and reading the details of each and every horrible murder. The impact brought me to my knees and yet it didn't end there. Each year I add more than a dozen names to the statistics, all lost to unspeakable acts of violence, all of whom had families, friends and lovers.

My aunt, Debra Forte was a transsexual woman who was murdered in my home town of Haverhill, Massachusetts, on May 15, 1995. Since her murder there have been 155 others in this Country alone. That's 155 families who suffer the grief of knowing their loved one was taken from them for no other good reason than the fact that they were, or perceived to be transgender.

Every year when I attend a transgender day of Remembrance and I am surrounded by my community, surrounded by the people I love, I truly feel the power of their support and the commitment to not tolerate violence committed against us as a consequence for being who we are. Please attend a Transgender Day of Remembrance.

Remember those we have lost and comfort those who are still alive.

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