For most people, the Transgender Day of Remembrance conjures up visions of the tens of thousands brutal and bigoted beatings and murders that happen against these gentle people.
Did I say gentle? Yes, I did, because I’ve never met a transgender person who wasn’t intelligent, thoughtful and non-violent person. I have met many who were outraged at their treatment and they have every right to feel that way.
About two years ago, just after I started LGBT-Today, my wife Kathy and I, were invited to go to a Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays casual social meeting by the then President of the Melbourne, Florida local President.
We met at this sidewalk café and it was freezing. It was just a week or so before my birthday in early December or 2010.
The thing I remember vividly was the attendance of about a half-dozen male-to-female transgender people and every one of them were seeking help.
Some had formerly been engineers, supervisors in their former jobs, respected by their peers and family and now they were unemployed because as soon as they came out they were fired, their friends turned their backs on them, in some cases violently, and their families had disowned them completely including their former spouses and children.
We should take a moment to remember all those transgender people who have lost their livelihoods, their friends and their families and sit alone, wondering what will become of them. Through the years I’ve befriended my share of transgender friends. Just having one friend that invites them to Thanksgiving dinner with other friends of yours this week can make all the difference to someone who feels so alone. Had the opportunity to introduce myself to any of these people at the café happened, I would have been happy to invite them our home for Christmas, or in our case, Yule, since I’m Wiccan and don’t celebrate Christmas. The Christians who bitch so loudly about extirpating the holy day of Christmas make me laugh since the Catholic Church stole the holy day from the Pagans in the first place. Ignorance is bliss so people like Pat Robertson must be living in paradise.
We should also remember that the gay, lesbian and bisexual community has used and abused the transgender communities support and presence to get equality laws passed for the homosexual community with the promise of their own equality and during negotiations, the homosexuals threw the transgender community under the bus, telling them, “We couldn’t get it passed with transgender inclusion. We’ll work on it next year.” Of course they never do and when the transgender community presses them for support, our people just reply, “You know, you should just get your own organization going instead of depending on us!”
That’s wonderful repayment for transgender people supporting us, isn’t it? I’ve seen this happen for close to 40 years, over and over again. We should hang our heads in shame over our community treating transgender people this way whether we directly did it or not!
Forty-two years ago, when I first attended my high school here in Satellite Beach, Florida in 1970, we had a transgender person in our school. I met her (at the time, still a him) in the very first class I was in, Audio-Visual Aid.
I still carry shame over the way I acted toward him/her. I wasn’t out yet but I knew who I was inside. I was scared to death. It was a small, very intransigent minded area near the space center where the Apollo moon landing program was going on.
I did manage to speak to him/her in private on occasion but the way the rest of the school treated him/her was execrable. The football team stuffed him in lockers and trash cans and beat him until he was bloody and the teachers did nothing about it but laugh and I didn’t dare come to his rescue or I would have suffered the same Moira.
I still regret not standing up for this person and I can’t even remember their name. All I remember is one of our brief conversations we had that he/she told me as soon as she graduated high school she was headed for New York City and when she had made enough money she was going to get the surgery at John Hopkins University Medical School. At the time I believe it was the only place in the United States you could get the surgery.
I’ve wished for a long time I could contact this person and apologize for not standing up for her. I’ve often wondered, and hoped for the best, what happened to her. I’m sure her journey was very hard back then.
If you really want to honor the memories of transgender people then every one of you can start by inviting a transgender person you know who is struggling to Thanksgiving dinner this week. Then invite them to Christmas.
Everett Jeremy Alyxander, a young person beginning transition whose parents disowned her, lost her girlfirend and is or has lost most of her network of friends to support her. This is the norm for most transgender people.
Giving friendship to those transgender people who alive would prevent crimes against them and more importantly; it would give them a sense of family so they would do no harm to themselves.
I think that’s a much healthier viewpoint for the Transgender Day of Remembrance than running down a list of those who are gone.
Preserving life is more important to me than crying over what’s past.
By Stephanie Donald
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