transgender day of remembrance

On Transgender Day of Remembrance, how do we shorten the list of the dead?

Today is the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance when we memorialize those who were killed by anti-trans violence in the past year. Here is this year’s list of those we’ve lost and here is where you can find an event happening in your area. 

As Morgan Collado wrote at Autostraddle, trans women of color dominate the list of lives lost — this year and every year — and simply spending one day honoring them after they’ve been killed is not enough. “The names of trans women of color will be in the mouths of the queer community after they’ve been murdered,” Collado wrote, “but support for us while we are still alive is sporadic at best.”

Today at Jacobin, Samantha Allen echos that idea that remembering must be paired with “interrogating the present” and imagining a different future. She asks the vital question: “How could we shorten this list of the dead? What kind of politics would that goal require?” Her answer:

Because most people on the list lack basic economic security, it must be socialist; because the list is primarily made up of women, it must be feminist; because most of those women are people of color, it must be anti-racist. Because so many of these transgender women of color are sex workers, it must adopt a nuanced approach to sex work that respects its economic and personal necessity without ignoring its dangers. And because so many of these sex workers are in countries like Brazil and Mexico, it must be internationalist. If this politics seems impossible, consider that the safety of transgender people is impossible in its absence.

Practicing radical politics requires us to work from the bottom up, to start from the intersection of multiple oppressions. In 1977, a group of black lesbian socialist feminists known as the Combahee River Collective wrote: “If Black women were free, it would mean that everyone else would have to be free since our freedom would necessitate the destruction of all the systems of oppression.” According to this same principle, transgender women of color need to be at the center of our politics and not consigned to its margins.

Read the rest of Allen’s piece here, honor those we’ve lost, and, most importantly, commit yourself to helping make next year’s list shorter.

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St. Paul, MN

Maya Dusenbery is executive director in charge of editorial at Feministing. She is the author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick (HarperOne, March 2018). She has been a fellow at Mother Jones magazine and a columnist at Pacific Standard magazine. Her work has appeared in publications like,, Bitch Magazine, as well as the anthology The Feminist Utopia Project. Before become a full-time journalist, she worked at the National Institute for Reproductive Health. A Minnesota native, she received her B.A. from Carleton College in 2008. After living in Brooklyn, Oakland, and Atlanta, she is currently based in the Twin Cities.

Maya Dusenbery is an executive director of Feministing and author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm on sexism in medicine.

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