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' http://www.dolari.net/)
Mekari Potts ('Between the Lines' http://betweenthelines.sosdg.org/)
Chris Hazelton ('Misfile' http://www.misfile.com/)
Jaded Communications (music: midnight-4PM and 9PM-midnight) http://jadedcommunication.com/
Miles Sullivan (music: 4PM-9PM)
Robin Sojourner (vigil candles)
Kara Spengler, Gwen Smit, Trinity Dejavu, Miyabina Susanti
Transgender Suicide Memorial
Transgender Resource Center
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