Today is Transgender Day of Awareness (TDOR), which every November 20 memorializes those killed by hatred or fear of transgender and gender non-conforming people. TDOR was founded in 1998 in response to the murder of Rita Hester, a transgender African American woman who was murdered in Allston, Massachusetts on November 28, 1998.
As you know, a lot of stuff about being human isn’t easy. Sex is a particularly difficult issue. Everything about sex is so extreme it’s just about all anyone can do not to stay in bed all day crying and/or masturbating. We have our genitals, so packed with nerve endings most of us would hump the wind if no one was looking. We have our sex drive, which to us is like a just-launched spaceship is to the astronauts who are strapped inside the thing shaking, making funny faces, and hoping they don’t die in an explosion. We have our profound desire to love and be loved. We have all the things we’re supposed to do out in the world—real things that we really care about. And it’s all just mashed together into this massive, internal, psycho-physical-sexual matrix that we spend our whole lives negotiating and basically being lost in.
Lord, a great many of us are deeply frightened. We don’t know where we came from; we don’t know where we’re going after we die. We fear our fate. How can we not? We’re exist within a system the rules of which we did not write and the outcome of which we cannot control. How do we not feel like trapped animals?
And so, like trapped animals, we fight. We attack. And a lot of us do so blindly, horribly, against anything and everything. Because none of what we’re fighting is the real thing. Because we can’t get to the real thing, can we, Lord? So we fight what we can get our hands on. In the frenzy of our fear we look around, identify a threat or target, and start in swinging.
And people die.
Lord, today is the day we’re remembering all transgender people in the world who were killed for no other reason than that they wanted to be themselves. Born with a mismatch between their bodies and their souls, they were brave enough to dedicate themselves to living the way you told us we’re all supposed to live: by being true to their souls, to their hearts, to their best and most authentic selves.
Just like you did, Lord. You lived the way you were born to live. You never backed off your truth. You never let others tell you how to be. You knew who you were. And you continued to live as you were—you continued to be true to your true self—even though doing so brought you unstoppable storms of scorn, vilification, and a death no one deserves.
Be with our transgender brothers and sisters today, Lord. Hold them to you. You, of all people, know how they’ve suffered. And you of all people know why.
And you of course know what so many of us have yet to learn, which is that all you want is for us lost and confused mortals to love each other for no other reason than because you made us, exactly as we are, and exactly as we find one another. Help us to learn this, Lord. Help us to never forget it.