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Remembrance, Resilience, and Resistance

Artwork reading "Trans People Exist in the Future"

Artwork by Kah Yangni (@kahyangni on Instagram | and Forward Together (@fwdtogether)

November 20th is Trans Day of Remembrance & Resilience. It’s a day to honor the legacies of our trans and nonbinary people who were taken from the world due to violence, discrimination, and hate. As we remember and honor their lives by saying their names with love and respect, it is a reminder that we shall continue to find ways of giving love and standing for trans justice everywhere.

In the last year, more than 350 reported transgender and non-binary lives have been taken worldwide due to anti-trans violence, discrimination, and hate. 51 of these deaths were in the U.S., and of these, most of the reported deaths are Black trans women. And the actual numbers of lives we’ve lost are likely higher than reported because so many trans people are marginalized, misgendered, misidentified, or unaccounted for even in death.

The year 2020 has been especially tough as the world continues to grapple with a pandemic that impacts our trans and non-binary communities who already fight for access to healthcare. Though Trans Day of Remembrance specifically focuses on murders of trans people, we have lost many this year to the rapid spread of COVID-19, including irreplaceable community figures like Lorena Borjas. The neglectful response to the pandemic by our federal government; the broken institutions that demand workers choose between exposure to the virus or losing their income; the homelessness, hunger, isolation, and poverty that are rampant among trans people and those who are considered disposable–these, too, are violence. Just like individuals motivated by ignorance and hatred, these systems take lives every day.

The impacts of these deaths on the families, friends, communities, and loved ones left behind are immeasurable.

In these moments of honoring the lives of those taken from us too soon, we also invite you to celebrate the trans communities that continue to exist every single day. Express your gratitude towards trans and non-binary folx in your life. Be kind to yourself and to others every chance you get. Remind yourself that what we have is each other, and that no one is disposable.

Even in a world that tries to erase, eradicate, and diminish our light, our communities remain powerful. Within this resistance there is a brilliant resilience and legacy.

To keep this life-sustaining work going, we encourage everyone to donate within their capacity or volunteer with a local, trans-led group. We’ve compiled a list of all 261 of our 2020 grantees to help serve as a guide to where you can donate and share at.

To learn about how we can demand trans liberation, especially for our Black Trans Women and Black Trans Femmes, please check out Transgender Law Center’s website for the Trans Agenda For Liberation.

Our lives and communities are part of the legacy of trans justice that strengthens our resilience and fuels our resistance. Let us remember, celebrate, and uplift those we’ve lost and honor the ones who are still here. Together we build this legacy of trans justice where trans and nonbinary folks will not only survive, but will thrive, free to live and to love.

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