I attended my first Transgender Day of Remembrance on November 20, 2002. That event was ten years ago and was just months into my own transition.
At that time, Gwen Araujo had been killed the previous month by four young men and a girl who decided to rat Gwen out at an intoxicating party. I attended her funeral with several transgender friends, but it was at that first TDOR when I experienced something for the first time.
It had been around three months since I had started hormones, and when Gwen's story of her murder was told and a bell was rung for her, it was the first time that I felt such an intense emotional response and overwhelming realization of the path I was on.
I cried for her, and for all the other guys and gals who were murdered simply for trying to be themselves. Sure, some girls and guys put themselves into not so safe situations, but that doesn't mean they deserve to die. Some find themselves working the streets because it's the only way to earn the money needed to survive, but not everyone on the streets is a victim.
On the Transgender Day of Remembrance website, it lists 72 transgender people that have been killed in the past year. Of them, at least one was murdered in the Bay Area, and quite a few are from Brazil, which has been a hot spot for transwomen murders the past few years. On the slide show at the local TDOR event, they posted that 265 transgender people have been murdered in the past year.
The numbers are staggering.
Sometimes, I forget that there are such fierce predators in the world, but I have survived these past ten years fairly well. I have cherished the good times, have grown from the bad times, and have tried to make do as best that I can. I haven't tried to be me...I simply have been me. And if I am ever killed for that simplest notion, I shall have no regrets for the journeys I have partaken, the friends I have made, nor the times I have shared.