Friday, November 21, 2008

Wrap up thoughts from Winne

Wow what a remarkable day the SL Transgendered Day of Remembrance (TDoR) was for me. I am always amazed at the spirit and willingness to participate demonstrated by the residents of Second life. It was very affirming for me a transsexual person to see so many people (TG and allies) show up to say they cared enough to take the time to remember and share.

The TDoR at its essence is about life and death and freedom to live, it’s serious business. Gwen Smit, the founder of the TDoR speaking with us yesterday said TG people have a 1 in 12 chance of being murdered that is pretty serious in my book. Our best estimate of attendance yesterday was on the order of 160 avatars a little math, assuming most of us were transgendered, if that statistic holds, 13 less of us would be there next year. When you bring that number down to personal terms and think okay which 13? my friends and fellow organizers Kara, or Gwen, my sl partner Gin? my long time friend Shery?, Me!! we can not let this situation stand, our collective lives depend upon it. Sure, it is much simpler, easier and intensely more dangerous to think of these deaths in terms of nameless statistics. I encourage you to personalize that 1 in 12 number not to paralyze yourself with fear but to mobilize yourself to speak up however you can and to support your sisters and brothers rights and well being.

The sharing I heard from all the speakers we hosted inspired me and encouraged me that there is hope and peace in the transition process and it reminded me that this can be a dangerous process. Through community effort we can mitigate some of the danger associated with being transgendered. This day for me was about being a community one that cares, one that is willing to say no one gets left behind or forgotten. As a community we have the obligation to care for one another by educating, supporting, and loving each other like a large family (yes I know its sappy) and like a family we don’t all have to like each other but we do need to care and work together. Also like a family those with experience need to be willing to risk saying the hard things sometimes, like saying nicely to the overzealous transitioning person please go get the counseling you do not think you need and those of us inexperienced need to listen and learn. We need being willing to step in when one of us is in crisis (we all hit that point sooner or later) to simply say I’m here and I care for you and am glad that you are here today and tomorrow so lets just talk being a friend can save a life. We need to help each other make good choices for the right reasons, rather than pulling into ourselves and going it alone. Investing time in peer support is an amazing thing offering huge returns for both parties. I said it yesterday I’ll say it again isolation kills community nurtures , protects and builds. All of us are part of this community.

During the evening yesterday I stepped away from the SL TDoR to attend the TDoR ceremony in my home town, Baltimore. I went for several reasons one I felt a real need to be there and be counted as a person saying no more violence against TG people. I felt this way because of my participation with the groups in second life. I also am at a point in the transition process where finding a support group is important and while attending the ceremony I met several wonderful people who are part of a local support group. I’m looking forward to attending the meetings and getting know the group. It was interesting to go from the virtual TDoR to a local TdoR . I don't like the RL / SL comparisions. I think the virtual SL TDoR is real the speakers and circumstances are all about real people from real life with real losses and victories. Maybe next year we can come up with a way to further bridge the gap between the virtual and the real TDoR events.

It was a wonderful day for me in both SL and RL I look forward to working on the project(s) next year and intend to keep running my stream of thoughts on this blog for the foreseeable future. As we move forward into the next year we need to keep the intensity and spirit of the TDoR alive in each of us and look for the opportunities to have a positive impact on the world around us.

Finally the thank you acknowledgments:

To my partners in crime Kara Spengler and Gwen Collins I am humbled by both of you. You are remarkable people thank you for letting me help. Its really special to work with you both.

To the organizing committee: Aaron71 Coakes, Carrie Talaj, Fyphfoko Yifu, Gwen Smit, Jani Myriam, Random Demina

To the speakers: Kara Spengler, Gwen Smit, Trinity Dejavu, Miyabina Susanti

To our Dj’s Jaded Communications, Miles Sullivan

To our candle maker Robin Sojourner

To Klara Milena for your wonderful photographs

To Shery Capalini, K and S Jewlery for the and commemorative Necklace and Broach

Thank you you were all instrumental in the success of the SL TDoR

A special thank you to the Webcomics Project Artists for sharing their amazing work (the pen is mightier than the sword, they prove it everyday)

Jenn Dolari ('A Wish for Wings' & Closetspace'
Mekari Potts ('Between the Lines'
Silus Crow
Chris Hazelton ('Misfile'

Corporate Sponsors:

Jaded Communications (music: midnight-4PM and 9PM-midnight)
Miles Sullivan (music: 4PM-9PM)
Robin Sojourner (vigil candles)
Hydra Charron
Lore Foulsbane
Lowri Mills
Hope Mcalpine
Desiree Carbenell
Kara Spengler, Gwen Smit, Trinity Dejavu, Miyabina Susanti

Organizational Sponsors:

Transgender Suicide Memorial
Transgender Lounge
Transgender Resource Center
Sweetwater Studio

Thanks to our corporate and organizational sponsors your assistance and contributions make a real difference.

Speacial thanks to my Partner, Gin Messmer, she puts up with me, patiently waiting while I crusade away and is always willing to be by my side. Love you darling

Finally one huge massive mega hug to the entire community of attendees that came by to show they care and offer support. If everyone real life was like you, next year TDoR would be a celebration that no one got killed last year - thank you all

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Photo by Klara Milena

Photo by Klara Milena

Femina Matahari remembered the loss of her friend by reciting the following poem written in memory of her friend and sister, Debbie Fox.

[7:30] Femina Matahari:

I came her last year when I discovered this Remembrance sim and asked the owners to add Debbie’s name to the list. She was a vibrant girl and a very close and personal friend more like a sister than friend. Basically the road was too hard for her in the end and she took the dark option as her only way out of the pain.It happened 5 years ago last august I still cry and I guess I always will any way here is the words our mutual friend Pamela Dunn in Florida wrote for her.

In Memory of Deborah Fox
As down the road of life we travel
Starting all alone
Others often join us, going the same way
They become our friends and companions
Sharing the pain we know
For their pain is the same
As that we feel.

We are all on a journey.
A journey to that inner self
Which is in our hearts and minds.
The road is from the male body
To the woman trapped inside us.
Deborah Fox

Our Dear Debbie, known too as Foxy
Was one that joined us on that road way
Happiness and joy she brought to
Those that might have fallen along the way,
Except for her helping hand.

Now and then, we in our turn helped her
Over the rough spots she found in her Roadway of life;
But somehow we failed and heard not a cry,
Mayhap she made none, her mind set on its path.
And she has left us standing on that roadway.
We are left alone to face the world.

Now forever there will only be
The image of her left for us to see,
The picture that will pale in comparison
To the one that really lived there.
She will live forever

In the hearts and minds of those she touched and loved
And those of us that loved her in return.
As long as we, her friends, remember her
And in our hearts keep her
She will never really die.

Oh God, our Debbie, please hold her soul and grant her entry
Into Heaven's Pearly Gates.
Here is my prayer for my friend Deborah Fox:
Pamela Jean Street Dunn,
A sad friend with tears in her eyes.

Goodbye Debbie my love,
Safe journey and may
the boat man on the river Styx,
grant you free passage for a smile
And may you find on the other side
That Valhalla for warrior maids
and sweet respite for your heart and soul.

© 28 Aug 2003
Pamela Jean Street Dunn

Miyabina Susanti, Volunteer TG Lounge

Greetings everyone. As you can tell by the nametag above my head I am Miyabina Susanti. Something that you may not know is that the name above my head... is my name in RL as well.

Second Life has been a great boon to me in my transition, if it wasn't for the interaction and information I found through here I wouldn't be as far as I am now.

A little more background info about me... I have a few issues, things like autism, factor v leiden, and marfan syndrome. But, the main reason I am even here today giving this little speech/talk to you all is that I was just discharged from a mental hospital on monday. I was very suicidal and got committed. I am a suicide survivor.

I am one of the lucky ones who was able to understand and get help.

I am here today to try and make sure that no other names get added to the suicide list.

We all get depressed from time to time. Which, I might add, that I still am depressed, I got discharged with a major depressive disorder. BUT! I have a new found appreciation for life. Little things like being able to be cold, breathing fresh air, feeling the grass on my feet, using a pencil, listening to your portable music player.

It is a fact of life that all the stressor in our life can weigh us down. But, there is a ray of hope! We can try to understand what our stress triggers are so they do not build up. Little things like being stuck in traffic can be negated by doing something we like while being stuck in traffic. Something like listening to a book on CD or singing to the radio or even a simple deep breathing exercise.

When we let the stress get to us to a bigger degree we start to feel the effects of a more severe depression. Starting to sleep more or less, gaining or losing weight. I am sure most of you know the signs. It is at this point that we become more anxious and the stress gets to us a lot more than normal.

Then the thoughts can turn to suicide. This is when we need to ask for help. This is the part that is hard for people. This is the part I was able to do and want to tell everyone to do if needed. It isn't bad to ask for help. You will get help. Money is no issue, they will usually sort something out for you.

Even if getting help is going into the ER, or even getting committed to a mental hospital. It is better to live. There is always something to live for. It may not seem like it, that is why there is help.

Living is fantastic.

You can be here in SL. You can listen to music. Just everything. Everything that we take for granted. I know I am being repetative here.

I just really really do not want to see another transgendered person, or anyone, take their own lives.

With this Day of Rememberance I want us all to remember those that have passed on before us, but I also want us all to remember how important our own lives are and to live them daily.

Thank you very much for listening to me, and I hope you all have a great day, week, and a long life. Blessed Be.

Trinity Dejavu, founder TG Lounge

To start, I would like to make a special thank you to Kara for all her hard work. She works tirelessly for the transgender, child, and newbie communities in SL. She is one of those rare people you meet here that truly shines, and I am proud to call her my friend.

I'd like to thank everyone involved in the Transgender Suicide Memorial for creating this place and organising today, to all those who volunteer there time at the Transgender Resource Centre and the Transgender Lounge for all the hard work they put in, day in and day out.

For many of us, the virtual and online communities are all we have to keep in touch with people with similar daily struggles and difficulties.

Everyone of us faces a daily gauntlet of a very personal nature. Depression, anxiety, low self esteem, lack of confidence, or just plain confusion at the daunting task of understanding what gender identity means to us individually.

When I first faced the question of gender I didn't dare hope, and fear of failure kept me alive.

When SL broke the walls in my mind down and forced me to confront the question 15 years later, I lost everything and more painfully, everyone. I came as close to suicide as you can and still walk away. I had nothing to lose, so why not try.

For many of us this path is a tight rope we are forced to walk everyday of our lives, a feat that some days can border on the impossible.

But if you have one friend, one supporter, one mentor, one guiding light who will put there rope next to yours and walk arm in arm with you. It can give you the hope to make it through another day.

It is on this day we remember those who have fallen and those who were pushed away or assaulted. We remember their families, loved ones and friends.

We remember them and their lives and struggles, what they stood for and what they meant to us.

I lost a friend a couple of years ago and promised I would keep her memory alive. She has been the motivation for my involvement in the Transgender Resource Centre, and in starting the Transgender Lounge this year.

If one person, just one, is helped to overcome the difficulties we all face everyday, then for me, Kelise didn't die for nothing.

Sometimes just knowing you're not alone makes the world a seem a far less scary place.

Thank you all for coming here and for taking the time to remember and to listen.

Gwen Collins' thoughts

[12:22] Gwen Collins: i'd like to say a few words about transgender suicides

[12:23] Gwen Collins:

Probably the majority of the suicides are caused because people feel that there's no hope. People who would need to transition but they believe that they cannot but which is worse, commit a suicide or come out?

Society is so much more approving now than it was in the past so what we all should do, is not only educate the society as a whole, but also our fellow transgenders
about the possibilities they have. Probably many suicides would be avoided if people would know more about the options they have. Therefore it is very important that we encourage more people attend support groups and such as many of us. I've been there to, as we all know, a suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. When you hit that low you cannot see further peer support is of utmost importance so please encourage people attend real life support groups, and please attend such yourselves as well

thank you

Gwen Smit, Founder TG Day of Rememberance

Gwen Smit: Thank you all for being here, and for honoring those we have lost

[12:10] Gwen Smit:

In November of 1998, Rita Hester -- a transwoman of color living in Massachusetts -- was brutally murdered. Her death, as well as the death of Channelle Pickett on November 20th, 1995, led to the creation of the Remembering Our Dead project and the first Transgender Day of Remembrance.

This was a project born of anger and sorrow, and remains a solemn occasion to honor those we have all lost at the hand of anti-transgender violence. I know I need not tell anyone here that our community -- our world -- is facing a lot of issues. Our larger LGBT community faces challenges due to recent legislation to yet again outlaw same gender marriage. My marriage of 16 years is directly affected by this ruling. In the face of heavy job losses around the nation and world, we still face an uphill battle getting employment protections passed at a Federal level -- with our own allies at the Human Rights Campaign working against us for their own gains in much the same fashion they have since the early 1990s. But while we can and should be concerned about all these things, and we should speak out about those things that infringe upon our rights, I wish to remind each of you of one thing: the most important and basic right we have is the right to exist.

This is a time to remember what others might like us to forget. This is a time to honor those we have lost -- and to hope that we will lose no more. A transgender person is estimated to have a 1 in 12 chance of being murdered, and ever other week another person dies to anti-transgender violence. 1 in 12! This year, we honor thirty people who were killed due to anti-transgender violence or prejudice. these were people like you and I, doing what they can to have a good life for themselves. They could have easily been us, our friends, or our family. Each one of them was killed.

You may not know Kellie Teleford, strangled to death the day after last year's Day of Remembrance by Shanniel Hyatt. You might not know Brian McGlothin, who was shot in the head with Antonio Williams automatic rifle -- simply because McGlothin liked to wear women's clothing. Like McGlothin, Lawrence King, a 15 year old, was also shot to death because he liked to wear clothing opposite his birth gender. Angie Zapata, who's skull was fractured by Alan Ray Andrade. Jaylynn Namauu. Ruby Molina, who was murdered in September somewhat upstream of the river that passes my own house. Duanna Johnson, shot and killed just a few days ago in Tennessee. Dilek Ince. Aimee Wilcoxson. Ebony Whitaker.

Today, there are people speaking out worldwide against anti transgender violence. There are events honoring those we've lost on every continent, in schools, colleges, and major cities across across the globe. Google has honored Transgender Day of Remembrance in their official weblog. Yes, there are even those of us here within Second Life.

I started this project a decade ago, and Ethan St. Pierre has taken on much of the duties to keep it going -- but it is up to all of us to end this. Mobilize, get active, and stay safe.

The TG Suicide Memeorial

This was taken Mid morning on the 20th during the TDOR. Its a special place to remember those we have lost and to encourage us to do all we can to never ever lose another person.

Come see


Sara Flinker's Prayer

Sara Flinker offered this prayer during the vigil

[8:49] Sara Flinker: O G-d,grant us strength as we mourn the loss of Bernie and others. We will always have cherished memories of them. Bless our family with light and peace. May the memory continue to serve as a blessing and an inspiration to all who knew and loved.
[8:50] Sara Flinker: AS I light the candle I say
Zichrono liveracha. His memory is a blessing
[8:50] Sara Flinker: MOURNER'S KADDISH ( in Hebrew and English)
[8:50] Sara Flinker: Yit-gadal v'yit kadash sh' mey rabe,
B'alma di v'ra hirutey, v'yam-lib mal-hutey,
B'ha-yay-hon uv-yomey-hon uv-ha-yay d'hol beyt yisrael, Ba-agaia u-vizman kariv, v'imru amem.
[8:51] Sara Flinker: Magnified and sanctified be the great name of G-D throughout the world which He hath created according to His will. May He establish His kingdom during the days of your life and during the life of all the house of Israel, speedily yea, soon and say ye Amen.
[8:51] Sara Flinker: Y'hey sh'mey reba m'verah I'alam ul-almey alma-ya.
[8:51] Sara Flinker: May His name be blessed for ever and ever.
[8:51] Sara Flinker: Yit-barah v'yish-tabah v'yit-pa-ar v' yit-na-say,
V'yit-hadar v'yit-aleh v'yit-halal sh'mey d'kud-sha, ( B'rih hu,) I'eyla (ul-eyla) min kol bir-hata v'shi-rata, Tush-b'hata v'ne-hemata da-amiran b'amiran b'alma, v'imru amen.
[8:51] Sara Flinker: Exalted and honored be the name of the holy One, blessed be He, whose glory transcends, yea, is beyond all blessings and hymns, praises and consolations which are uttered in the world; and say yeaa, Amen
[8:52] Sara Flinker: My love I miss you so very much you are always with me and in my heart I hope we be together someday, I love you so very much. (crying) G-d think of the people at TRC and help them though any heard time they my have endure: add any personal prayers you may have.

River Ely's words

River Ely spoke these words from her heart touching all who heard at the TDOR Vigil.

River Ely: I would like to say a few words, not many
[6:38] Kara Spengler: we would love to hear them
[6:39] River Ely: I am here because others gave
[6:39] River Ely: I am here because others tolerated
[6:39] Femina Matahari smiles reassuringly at her RL partner River
[6:39] River Ely: i am here because i was shown that I can live
[6:39] River Ely: i am here because i survived
[6:39] River Ely: i gave strength through my partner
[6:39] River Ely: i have love from my partner and from my friends
[6:40] River Ely: i have myself because like my partner and our friends, we continued to fight when all that was needed, was to be accepted
[6:40] River Ely: i now fight for my brothers and sisters
[6:40] River Ely: i now support those that ask for support
[6:41] River Ely: i help create rules that makes it against the law to treat us differently
[6:41] River Ely: i don’t know where it will go, but I tell myself
[6:41] River Ely: if i had tried forever years ago
[6:41] River Ely: Debbie Fox would be here talking to you now instead of me
[6:41] River Ely: we all have a debbie fox
[6:41] River Ely: we all know what it is to be who we are
[6:42] River Ely: and we all need a time and a place that is ours
[6:42] River Ely: please , in your heart, never forget the people that fight
[6:42] River Ely: the ones that support and the ones that love us
[6:42] River Ely: we need them, we need each other

Kara's Talk

if you don't have them already, there is a candle in the event notecard and two other different ones in the dispensers on either side of me, you will want one of the three when we do the vigil in a few moments (the ones to my left are the ones with the paper shield). You may also want to set your viewers to midnight and turn off any AOs to get the full effect of the candles.

(pause so people can get their candles)

This is our second year of doing this in Second Life, although it has been going on elsewhere since the 90s. I have always avoided talking at these events. While part of that was simple stage fright, the larger part was I feared nothing I could say would be worthy of their sacrifice. I came to realise though that the best way I could do that though was to simply remember them.

The 30 people we remember today who died since the last memorial come from all over the globe and all on their own paths. They span dates too: from the day after last year's TDOR to less than a week ago. All of them share one thing though: they were killed for being who they are. We remember them today.

Now on to the names, please get your candles out if you are not already wearing one.

Kellie Telesford of Thorton Heath, UK died on November 21, 2007. Kellie was strangled to death with a scarf, by 18 year old Shanniel Hyatt, who then covered the body of 39-year-old Kellie Telesford with a white blanket - with the brown furry scarf used to choke her still bound tightly round her neck. Hyatt said he killed her after discovering she had a penis. We remember you.

Brian McGlothin of Cincinnati, Ohio died on December 23, 2007. Brian was shot in the head with an automatic rifle by Antonio Williams who is serving a six year sentence. Brian was 25 years old. We remember you.

Gabriela Alejandra Albornoz of Santiago, Chile died on December 28, 2007. Gabriela was attacked and stabbed. We remember you.

Patrick Murphy of Albuquerque, NM died on January 8, 2008. Patrick was shot several times in the head and was found dressed in women’s clothes. We remember you.

Stacy Brown of Baltimore, MD also died on January 8, 2008. Stacy was shot in the head and was 30 years old. We remember you.

Adolphus Simmons of Charleston, SC died on January 21, 2008. Adolphus was shot to Death and was 18 yrs. old. We remember you.

Fedra of Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia died the next day on January 22, 2008. Fedra was found lying face up in a pool of blood, and the cause of death is unknown. We remember you.

Ashley Sweeney of Detroit, Michigan died on February 4, 2008. Ashley was shot in the head. The age of Ashley Sweeney is unknown, she was only described as a young transgender woman in a press release. We remember you.

Sanesha (Talib) Stewart of Bronx, NY died on February 10, 2008. Sanesha was stabbed to death and was 25 years old. We remember you.

Lawrence King of Oxnard, California died on February 12, 2008. Lawrence was shot to death by a classmate because he liked to wear women’s clothes. Lawrence King was 15 years old. We remember you.

Simmie Williams Jr. of Fort Lauderdale, Florida died on February 22, 2008 Simmie was shot to death, Simmie was found wearing women’s clothing. Simmie was 17 years old. We remember you.

Luna of Lisbon, Portugal died on March 15, 2008. Luna was brutally beaten to death and tossed into a dumpster. We remember you.

Lloyd Nixon of West Palm Beach, Florida died on April 16, 2008. Lloyd was repeatedly beat in the head with a brick. Lloyd was 45 years old. We remember you.

Felicia Melton-Smyth of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico died on May 26, 2008. Felicia was brutally stabbed to death by Francisco Javier Hollos, who said he killed her because she would not pay for sex. Felicia was an HIV activist on vacation from Wisconsin. We remember you.

Silvana Berisha of Hamburg, Germany died on June 24, 2008. Silvana was stabbed to death. We remember you.

Ebony (Rodney) Whitaker of Memphis, Tennessee died on July 1, 2008. Ebony was shot and was 20 yrs. old. We remember you.

Rosa Pazos of Sevilla, Spain died on July 11, 2008. Rosa was found in her apartment, she had been stabbed in the throat. We remember you.

Juan Carlos Aucalle Coronel of Lombardi, Italy died on July 14, 2008.Juan Carlos was severely beaten causing fractures to the head and face before being run over by a car. Juan Carlos was 35 years old. We remember you.

Angie Zapata of Greeley, Colorado died on July 17, 2008. Angie was found in her home with two severe fractures in her skull. Angie was murdered by 31 year old, Alan Ray Andrade. Angie was 18 years old. We remember you.

Jaylynn L. Namauu of Makiki Honolulu, Hawaii died on July 17, 2008. Jaylynn was stabbed to death. Jaylynn was 35 years old. We remember you.

Samantha Rangel Brandau of Milan, Italy died on July 29, 2008. Samantha was beaten, gang raped and stabbed numerous times before being left for dead. Samantha was 30 years old. We remember you.

Nakhia (Nikki) Williams of Louisville, Kentucky died on August 20, 2008. She was found near the dumpster next to her home and had been shot. She was 29 years old. We remember you.

Ruby Molina of Sacramento, California died on September 21, 2008. Samantha drowned and her naked body was found floating in the American river. She was 22 years old. We remember you.

Aimee Wilcoxson of Aurora, Colorado died on November 3, 2008. Aimee was found dead in her bed and the police have yet to reveal the cause. She was 34 years old. We remember you.

Duanna Johnson of Memphis, Tennessee died on November 9, 2008. Duana was shot and was found dead in the middle of the street. She was 42 years old. We remember you.

Dilek Ince of Ankara, Turkey died on November 11, 2008. Dilek was shot in the back of the head. We remember you.

Teish (Moses) Cannon of Syracuse, New York died on November 14, 2008. Teish was shot and was 22 years old.

Ali of Iraq died in Iraq during 2008 at an unknown date. She was executed for being transgender. We remember you.

Two other transgender women were executed at the same time as Ali. We remember you.

These are only the ones we know about. It also does not include suicides, which are also unknown. Please call out any names you wish remembered at this time.

(pause for names to be called out, make sure people are finished)

We remember you.

My words from the Vigil

On this day of remembrance I am confronted with the fact we are the fortunate ones, we are here to remember. All of us, transgendered and allies together here to remember our sisters and brothers unjustly murdered for no reason beyond they lived in their true gender as their true selves. It maybe a false comfort to think that its unlikely any of us could be subject to the same end that has befallen those we remember today, my sense is its a much shorter distance between their circumstances and ours than any of us want to acknowledge. I firmly believe that we need to remember, honor and learn from all those that have been murdered on account of their gender identity. The question is how do we honor them? What is sufficient?

My belief is we honor and remember these people by living our lives as positively and productively as possible advancing the case for transgendered persons rights to equal protection under the law, civil courtesy in society, access to health care, and access to economic opportunity. These basic rights that many take for granted as simple entitlements in their everyday lives are too often battlegrounds for us. The denial of these rights enables the process of violence against us by causing us to live in the shadows of society in the hopes that we can get by undetected quietly going on with our lives. In the shadows we attempt to live our lives as the men and women we are despite our physical situations. The problem is the shadows that conceal us from scrutiny also make us vulnerable to the intolerant violence of hate filled transphobic persons. In effect we find ourselves between the proverbial rock and a hard place constructed by the social intolerance of transgendered persons. I do not think I have the answers, I’m just beginning my transition journey and have much to experience and understand, but I have observed that whenever a group is viewed as stereotype that they are dehumanized and subjected to prejudice. The only way to combat that is to be seen as people rather than stereotypical characters.

Am I advocating that we all come out in society to be seen as people regardless of the consequences? Certainly not, our situations are far to diverse and as I’m throughly aware when you transition those close to you transition with you willingly or unwillingly. We are all at different at different stages in our journeys to be ourselves and our destinations are different. What unites us is we live beyond the gender binary. Often each of our decisions incorporate multitude of considerations impacting everyone we have relationships with. The first priority is for each of us to survive physically, emotionally, and spiritually; however, while surviving each of us should give consideration to what we can do to work positively to combat transphobic violence. Involvement with your local support group, volunteering with advocacy organizations, being a supportive friend to a transgendered person are all tangible things we can do to prevent violence against transgendered persons. Isolation kills, we have seen that time and again, community builds nurtures and protects.

How do we honer these people senselessly murdered? By being a community, banding together, looking out for each other on a local level and being an example of what is best in humanity people capable of tolerance and love with the strong conviction that we have a right to live our lives unmolested by hatred.

Transgender Day of Rememberance Vigil

Today is the second life 24 hour vigil in remembrance of those senselessly victimized by violence in the past year becuase they are transgendered.


Transgender Day of Remembrance at the TG Suicide Memorial, Nov 20 -24 hours event-

Purpose: To gather in remembrance of members of the transgendered community who have lost their lives to hate crimes or suicide.

*all persons in attendance are encouraged to share stories about Transgendered friends, loved ones, or members of the community who were victims of hate crimes or committed suicide.

*CandleLight Vigils will be held at 6:00 AM, noon, and 7:00PM

There are also 2 other kinds of vigil candles. One dispenser (by Gwen Collins) is part of the memorial and another (by Robin Sojourner) will be outside during the vigils.

Schedule of speakers:
6 AM Vigil
Kara Spengler (organizer)
Winnie Sweetwater (organizer)
noon Vigil
Gwen Smit (founder, Transgender Day of Remembrance)
7 PM Vigil
Trinity Dejavu (founder, Transgender Lounge) (after evening candle vigil)
Miyabina Susanti (volunteer, Transgender Lounge) (9:00 PM)
Jani Myriam (founder, Transgender Resource Center)
more speakers TBD

Organizing Comittee:
Aaron71 Coakes
Carrie Talaj
Fyphfoko Yifu
Gwen Collins
Gwen Smit
Jani Myriam
Kara Spengler
Random Demina
Winnie Sweetwater

Corporate Sponsors:
Jaded Communications (music: midnight-4PM and 9PM-midnight)
Miles Sullivan (music: 4PM-9PM)
Robin Sojourner (vigil candles)
Hydra Charron
Lore Foulsbane
Lowri Mills
Hope Mcalpine
Desiree Carbenell

Comics panels used with permission of the Transgender Day of Remembrance Webcomics Project
Jenn Dolari ('A Wish for Wings' & Closetspace'
Mekari Potts ('Between the Lines'
Silus Crow
Chris Hazelton ('Misfile'

Organizational Sponsors:
Transgender Suicide Memorial
Transgender Lounge
Transgender Resource Center
Sweetwater Studio