In this segment of Centric Commemorates, our colleague Seanna Tucker (she/her) shares her perspective about Transgender Day of Remembrance.
Part of our Centric Commemorates series.
The Transgender Day of Remembrance occurs yearly on November 20. The day was created to honor and observe the transgender people who lost their lives in acts of anti-transgender violence. Learn more from GLAAD here.
Please note: I am not trans myself – rather, a cisgender woman – but I would like to take today to honor and share the stories of trans people I know and love.
A few years ago, I heard a statistic that threw me off. According to GLAAD, only “approximately 20 percent of Americans say they personally know someone who is transgender.” I didn’t understand how the number was so low – the first trans person I met was while in high school. He’s a librarian, though he studied visual arts at the time I knew him well.
When my spouse (pronouns: she/they) and I first started dating in 2009, she asked me how I would feel if she identified as transgender. Since then, they’ve come out as nonbinary. She works in consulting, covering diversity, equity and inclusion as well as technology and nonprofit consulting for small to medium-sized businesses. They love Star Trek, space and astronomy, and bunnies. (Interested in learning about the use of multiple pronouns? Learn here and here.)
Another friend (he/him) is currently pursuing his master’s degree at a prestigious local university. He is a phenomenal writer. He loves trees – both walking among them in a forest and working with their wood to create benches, shelving units, and just about anything you can imagine. He recently married a wonderful woman, and they are exploring life together among nature, books and the stress that comes with any MFA program.
One friend (they/them) recently came out as nonbinary. They are also a nerd (probably the biggest commonality among all my friends and family members) – they love Halloween, horror movies, dark makeup and cats. Their children are frighteningly close to adulthood, which scares me, so I can only imagine the heart attack it’s giving them. They work in warehousing.
One more: A woman (she/her) my spouse is close friends with is still married to the person she’s been with for decades, even prior to coming out and transitioning. She’s a huge Marvel nerd and an author of science fiction books. While a writer, she has also recently become a coder – working with a local nonprofit to get placed into a trans-inclusive company.
Why am I sharing all of this? Because too often, trans people become part of a statistic. Their stories become something to gawk at – stories that we can read and say “Wow, that’s awful. I feel so bad for [insert demographic here] and am so happy it won’t happen to me!”
I could have told you— and almost did tell you — about the Transgender Day of Remembrance through the lens of the first vigil I walked in remembrance of a Black Trans Woman. Or, I could have talked to you about all of the statistics surrounding representation both in real life and on the screen, company policies that create harm, or the myriad of other things that frustrate me to watch my spouse and friends go through.
Here’s what I realized, though: To combat that 20 percent statistic, everyone needs to know that trans people are, well, people. They have hopes and dreams. They work in fields you don’t expect – and some you might expect. They laugh. They fall down and get hurt. They pick themselves back up. They’re human, and on a day when we’re meant to pay tribute to those whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence, it felt important to both honor those we’ve lost and those who are still here today.
— By Seanna Tucker, National Marketing Content Specialist
Through these stories, we’ll seek to learn, understand, and empathize. We’ll celebrate our differences and realize that though we have varied backgrounds and perspectives, we are one team.