Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Resolutions for 2009: Remembering Those Before Us

I don't really do New Years Resolutions in the material sense. I don't resolve to go to the gym 3 times a week or anything that could be viewed definitvley. I try to have my goals be more all-encompassing, focusing on changes I want to make in my general outlook and approach to life.

During my last week at GLAAD I helped to draft some opinion pieces on the life of Brandon Teena, all which focused on the the fact that this New Year's Eve is the 15th commmoration of his murder. With that, New Years becomes a day filled with multiple meanings - it is the symbolic end to old things, and the chance to make new beginnings – but it is also the anniversary of one of the most infamous hate crimes in US History.

When I was working with the authors to draft their letters and articles we focused on the idea of resolving to end hate, vioelnce, and discrimiantion against transgender people in 2009. This is a good thought. It's a noble and worthy thought. But since then at least three people have died due to anti-transgender violence.

Just before Christmas, on Dec 23 I learned that Leeneshia Edwards , a transwoman from Memphis, was shot in the face and now lies in critical condition in a Memphis hospital. This is the same city Duanna Johnson and Ebony Whitaker were murdered in, the same state that the amazing Dr. Marisha Richmond works in with the Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition. My heart and thoughts go out to the transgender people and allies of Memphis who must be terrified of the city they love.

And only a few days ago we learned that Taysia Elzy and Michael Hunt were murdered in Indianapolis. Avery was a transgender woman, and Micheal was her boyfriend. Michael's death is like the death of so many SOFFA's, often undocumented as anti-transgender violence so often focuses on transgender people, and not those who love and ally with us. A good resource from the Transgender Aging Network can be found here.

These deaths, these brutal and purposeful acts of violence, are overwhelming. But we can not let them overwhelm us. On New Years Eve my resolution will be to work even harder to stop hate violence and transphobia through education, outreach, and surviving day-to-day as a transgender person. I hope everyone has a safe and happy New Years, and I hope that we are all surrounded by our friends and the family we choose to be with. Let us find strength and joy in each other and our survival in 2009.

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