On Remembering Our Dead

So, we now find ourselves at the back-end of November, and as the world gets both colder and darker it seems only right that we should once again gather to pay our respects to our dead. I speak, of course, of International Transgender Day of Remembrance which falls every year on November 20th, during which events are held all over the world to pay respect to those who were murdered horribly just for daring to be true to themselves. Transgenderdor.org maintains both a list of those killed in the past year, as well as a list of events being hosted around the world and I would urge anyone who reads this blog to please go along and participate in the candlelight vigil or any other type of event that might be going on in your area.

I remember lighting 216 candles – each representing a person – this time last year and I suspect that this number won’t have changed much in the past year. There has been a shocking statistic circulating for some time now; 1 in 12 trans people will be murdered and this goes up to 1 in 8 for those in an ethnic minority. Granted, as Christina at WWTJD has found the precise source for this is incredibly difficult to find, but it remains clear that there is a disproportionate number of murders of trans people relative to the general population. As such, I feel it is both incredibly important to stand as a community and offer one another support, to raise awareness that this is indeed an issue, and – most importantly – to remember those we’ve lost.

I leave you with the reading I’ll be giving this year:

Smothered

Whispers on a wind
Of families forced to frame farewells
And bade goodbye as a bitter breeze blows
Back at souls who shone so strong,
Twice as bright, now not as long.
Flames flicker – forced to fade before their finish,
A dream diminished, doused by disgust,
As discussion dances in the distance
Resisting rationality in reality
For the beauty in brutality.
Caught in a cacophony of cruelty,
To mangle mirrors to identity.

The betterment begins.
With the sinner sought, silenced and seated
And the standardised sermon sorely repeated.
Kicked off with quick-fire questions,
Ever intending to impart an impression.
Pressured pleas passively pass by the pedagogues.
A vicarious verdict vomiting virulence
As silence screams for sanctuary,
A mandate for the maelstrom’s mercy
As candles are crushed completely
And embers exhausted eternally,
Smothered by a sanguine sea.

With sentence struck
The pack of peers who policed ‘perversion’
Open auditions for another aversion,
Control cast aside to commit to contusion
And style surpassed to ensure execution.
Letting loose the lunatic; a Latino lust for life
For contrived convictions of crimes of courage
And encouraging extremist re-education
Of those perceived to be doing wrong.
Of those who wouldn’t play along.
Souls which once shone so strong.
Twice as bright, now not as long.

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