TDOR 2013

I originally posted this onto my Tumblr.  I figured that it was worth posting here as well.

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It’s been a while since I blogged about the Transgender Day of Remembrance. Probably TOO long since I have. Pretty much everything that I said back then still holds true today.

”These 160+ souls should never have had their lives cut short. They were people with the potential to go on and do great things. Who knows what they could have been or become. The only thing that’s known is that they did not choose to be who they were, or to die at the hands of hate. I encourage everyone to please stop the hate in this world.”

That is from the 2009 blog. I’m not going to re-hash what I said there, save to say that we are still being rattled with fear and hate and people are still dying because of it. Since 2009, though, a lot of good has happened. There is visible transgender presence in the media landscape1, there are projects like #girlslikeus and trans* people have not stayed silent when it mattered most.

But sadly, there is still a need for a day like TDOR. Sadly, people are still being killed, or driven to suicide, because of hatred and ignorance. The list of those who were died for being themselves can be accessed here. While it is a far cry from the 160 people who died when I first blogged on the subject2, the fact remains there are still too many names on that list.

I’m going to close this post with a quote from Anne Frank. Because, if people took the time to realize this, maybe so many of our trans* sisters and brothers won’t have to die at the hands of hate.

“We all live with the objective of being happy; our lives are all different and yet the same.”
– Anne Frank

Footnotes

1. The biggest presence of a trans* person in media right now is Laverne Cox who plays Sophia on Netflix’s “Orange is the New Black.” But she is not alone. Since blogging in 2009 there have been musicians like Laura Jane Grace & Mina Caputo, journalist-turned-author Janet Mock, and child-star-turned-activist Chaz Bono who have all made important contributions to trans* people’s visibility.

2. We are once again getting conflicting numbers being reported on the number of people who died this year. The list I linked to above only had roughly 70 names on it when I looked. This morning, I came across a link on BuzzFeed which puts the number at 238, which would make it MORE than the number reported when I blogged in 2009. However, as you can see in that post, there were conflicting reports then as well.

Wake Me Up When November Ends

“here comes the rain again
falling from the stars
drenched in my pain again
becoming who we are

as my memory rests
but never forgets what I lost
wake me up when September ends”

— Green Day “Wake Me Up When September Ends”

A very powerful song by Green Day. It deals with the death of Billie Joe Armstrong’s father. November is the month that I would like to be able to skip over and not have to deal with the pain of November 2012.

This time last year, I was staring straight into the eyes of what would turn out to be the worst month that I have ever had to deal with. For starters, I lost one of the best friends, anchors, reporters and producers that you could ask for. Secondly, I was dealing with a roommate who had just come off of surgery and unknown to me at the time, would officially die for a few seconds on the operating table the 3rd time that he was rushed to the ER because his incisions had re-opened. Throw on top of that a Presidential election, Sweeps, and the death of an aunt that I wasn’t especially close to on my mom’s side of the family, and you can see why I was very emotionally distraught
by Thanksgiving.

“And it seems to me you lived your life
Like a candle in the wind”

— Sir Elton John “Candle in the Wind”

Probably the biggest reason that I would love to just skip over November this year is the fact that it has been one year since we lost Jeannie.   Quite honestly, this is probably the hardest part of this for me to write. I can’t believe that not only is she really gone, but that it has been a year already since I got the devastating news. Thankfully, I will say, she had enough sense to actually pass while I was distracted with directing WCCO 4 News at 10 that night. It’s been an especially tough year for me because of this, because there were so many things that happened to me this year where she would have been the first television friend I would have messaged on Facebook. But… I know that she is looking down on and helping all of her friends with their newscasts every day.

And I’m not joking when I say it… I really miss you Jeannie. And, if I haven’t said it enough this year, thank you for all of the help that you have given me.

“Everybody hurts
Take comfort in your friends
Everybody hurts
Don’t throw your hand, oh no

Don’t throw your hand
If you feel like you’re alone
No, no, no, you are not alone”

— REM “Everybody Hurts”

The second part of why November officially sucks for me is nearly losing a friend / roommate to what for any other person would have been a routine procedure. You really don’t need all the gory details. But when you get a call from your neighbor that your roommate was rushed to the ER, they took him for emergency surgery, and oh yeah…she has no idea where in the hospital he is…it’s wicked stressful. On and add to all of that the part where no one prepared me to find him hooked up to a ventilator when I finally got to see him the next morning. Or you know, the part where he technically died. Twice.

The good news, is that he is doing much better today.

“Time keeps on slippin’, slippin’, slippin’
Into the future”

— The Steve Miller Band “Fly Like an Eagle”

I still can’t believe that it’s been a year already since all of this happened. It seems like just yesterday Rory and I were talking about his plan to take over the world, and I was prodding Jeannie that she needed to come up to the Cities and take a picture with the Mary Richards statue on Nicollet Mall. I guess time really does keep slipping into the future.