Trans­gen­der Day of Re­mem­brance events lined up in ATL De­tails

Vigil, day of re­silience mark es­pe­cially vi­o­lent year for trans­gen­der com­mu­nity

GA Voice - - Georgia News -



The trans­gen­der com­mu­nity is hav­ing a mo­ment this year, for rea­sons good and bad. On the one hand you have the high pro­file com­ing-out of Cait­lyn Jen­ner this past July, which shined a spot­light on and sparked a di­a­logue about trans­gen­der is­sues across the coun­try.

On the other hand, far away from the Mal­ibu man­sion, the fash­ion spreads and the re­al­ity TV cam­eras, you have this: 22. That’s the num­ber of trans­gen­der or gen­der non­con­form­ing homi­cide vic­tims so far this year in the U.S., 19 of whom were trans­gen­der women of color, ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional Coali­tion of Anti-Violence Pro­grams. Nearly half of the mur­ders took place in the South.

That’s why this year’s Trans­gen­der Day of Re­mem­brance, tak­ing place across the world on Nov. 20, will be even more somber than usual. The event will be rec­og­nized lo­cally with a vigil at Saint Mark United Methodist Church, fea­tur­ing a key­note speech from state Sen. Vin­cent Fort (D-At­lanta).

Ge­or­gia one of five states with­out hate crime law

Tracee McDaniel shud­ders ev­ery time she sees an­other head­line about a trans­gen­der mur­der vic­tim.

“I’m an­gry, I’m out­raged about it. And I’m numb,” says the founder and CEO of the Jux­ta­posed Cen­ter for Trans­for­ma­tion. “So I just choose not to write or re­spond to those be­cause it just takes a lot out of me to do that be­cause I’m so tired of the ev­ery­day sit­u­a­tion.”

As to what needs to be done to help solve the prob­lem, McDaniel, the or­ga­nizer be­hind At­lanta’s Trans­gen­der Day of Re­mem­brance vigil, says, “There needs to be a change to what is de­scribed as a hate crime. It’s ob­vi­ous that trans peo­ple are be­ing tar­geted and be­ing mur­dered. I don’t understand why we don’t have hate crime pro­tec­tions here lo­cally.”

Novem­ber 13, 2015

Tracee McDaniel, or­ga­nizer of At­lanta’s Trans­gen­der Day of Re­mem­brance vigil, at the 2014 vigil. (File photo)

No sur­prise, then, that the key­note speaker for the vigil will be Sen. Fort, who has tried and failed to pass a hate crime law here in Ge­or­gia, one of only five states with­out such a law on the books. The Anti-Defama­tion League re­cently an­nounced its 50 States Against Hate cam­paign to rem­edy that, and Fort tells Ge­or­gia Voice he plans to be part of that ef­fort lo­cally.

“The ap­proach to hate crimes leg­is­la­tion is in process now,” Fort said. “I know the Anti-Defama­tion League has a cam­paign that they are look­ing at. I have talked to them a lit­tle bit about it. I’m reach­ing out to them and want to meet with them. I want to be in­volved and help where I can with that.”

And while Fort says he’s look­ing for­ward to speak­ing, the mag­ni­tude of the event weighs on him.

“It is one of the most painful, dif­fi­cult events that I par­tic­i­pate in,” he says. “I’m not a robot, you know? This is real stuff.”

But he agrees it is very nec­es­sary, this year more than ever.

“We’re not look­ing for­ward to adding the names to the list but we want to make sure that we memo­ri­al­ize trans peo­ple be­cause they’re not be­ing memo­ri­al­ized by their fam­i­lies in most cases,” McDaniel says. “They’re dy­ing and just be­ing dis­carded, so we want to say their names and we want to put their en­ergy into the uni­verse be­cause we do care about them.”

A look for­ward with Trans­gen­der Day of Re­silience

While Trans­gen­der Day of Re­mem­brance will be a day to mourn and re­flect, there is an-

Trans­gen­der Day of Re­mem­brance ‘We Will Not Be De­nied’ Vigil

Fri­day, Nov. 20 Re­cep­tion: 6 p.m., Vigil: 7 p.m. Saint Mark United Methodist Church

Trans­gen­der Day of Re­silience

Sun­day, Nov. 22 at 5 p.m. Phillip Rush Cen­ter www.rush­cen­ter­ other lo­cal event tak­ing place that will fo­cus on look­ing for­ward and cel­e­brat­ing the trans­gen­der com­mu­nity. The Trans­gen­der Day of Re­silience will take place Sun­day, Nov. 22 at the Phillip Rush Cen­ter and in­clude food, films, per­for­mances and con­ver­sa­tions.

It’s the sec­ond an­nual event, or­ga­nized by trans­gen­der ac­tivist and Lambda Le­gal di­rec­tor of com­mu­nity ed­u­ca­tion and ad­vo­cacy Hol­i­day Simmons. So far the evening’s lineup in­cludes a screen­ing of the first episode of “Eden’s Gar­den,” the first trans-men-lov­ing-trans-men web se­ries, fol­lowed by a Q&A with the show’s di­rec­tor, Seven King. There will also be per­for­mances by Hous­ton spo­ken word and per­for­mance artist Dee Dee Wa­ters and gen­derqueer cel­list Monica McIn­tyre, who hails from New Or­leans. Lo­cal per­form­ers and more en­ter­tain­ment are to be an­nounced.

“I think it’s im­por­tant for com­mu­ni­ties, as we’re strug­gling and fight­ing for var­i­ous rights and a place at the ta­ble, to re­flect and see where we’ve come and also to take a mo­ment and cel­e­brate who we are, cel­e­brate our cre­ativ­ity out­side of our strug­gles and our fight for jus­tice,” Simmons ex­plains. “I think that’s im­por­tant for all com­mu­ni­ties, but es­pe­cially for trans com­mu­ni­ties. We’re just so over­sat­u­rated with the violence that is in­flicted upon us, so it’s es­pe­cially im­por­tant for trans com­mu­ni­ties to re­mem­ber that we’re re­silient, that we’ve come a long way even if we have a long way to go, and that out­side of all that, we’re bril­liant, cre­ative crea­tures that are artists, that are sto­ry­tellers, that are mu­si­cians and to show the world that we’re more than sta­tis­tics and we’re more than sur­vivors or vic­tims.”

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