Sunday, November 23, 2008

Transgender Day of Remembrance, Austin

November 20th was TENT's (Transgender Education Network of Texas) Austin vigil at City Hall for International Transgender Day of Remembrance. Transgender Day of Remembrance is a day in honor of the lives of people who were killed because they did not conform to traditional gender norms. Some of those killed identified as transgender, transsexual, or none of the above, some dated someone who identified as something other than the traditional gender binary and were killed for doing so.

Each attendant was given a glow stick instead of a typical vigil candle. This proved to be a very sentimental symbol, as my sweetie and I still have our glow sticks sitting in our room and their glow fades a little more each day.

TENT's vigil honored those who were murdered for their radical gender identities by having twenty-nine empty chairs on the stage, one for each person murdered for their gender identity in 2008. At the very end of the vigil, one of the organizers read the full 2008 TDOR Names List, and as each name was read, someone from the crowd came up and sat in one of the seats. Live, human bodies, transgender, transexual, beautiful beings in varying expressions of gender, emerged from the crowd to populate the chairs. They then sat in silence and we all soaked in the reality of these killings.

There is still no legislation banning hate crimes based on gender identity. Some states still do not have legislation protecting transgender people from job discrimination. As a sidenote, Vermont, is the only state in America that has never had an anti-transgender murder occur in it.