I first read the play Hamlet when I was 13 years old. Although I refused to read any assigned books in English class, I secretly read a bunch of unassigned books on the side. Hamlet had been one of my first covert literary diversions. I still remember how moved I felt when the ghost of Prince Hamlet’s father, once a powerful king and warrior, pleads with his son, “Remember me.”
No longer mighty, no longer in control of his own life, all that remains is the memory of the Danish king in the minds and hearts of others. Considering the violence and treachery that led to the King’s assassination, the plaintive request gave me a deep pang at the injustice of his death and the fragility of his life.
Last night I attended the Transgender Day of Remembrance commemoration in Seattle, WA. This is the fourth year in a row I have gone to this event that remembers the all too many transgender people who have been murdered in the past year. Sitting there last night, hearing over and over how these trans women and men (and even the parent of a trans child) experienced unbelievably violent and cruel deaths, I felt that deep pang again. After a trans person read a narrative, they concluded with the simple phrase, “We remember.”
In the midst of demonstrations over state bans for gays and lesbians marriage, in a rising activist movement some have called Stonewall 2.0, I urge every gay, lesbian, bisexual person and straight ally, to take some time an attend a Transgender Day of Remembrance ceremony. (Most take place on Thursday Nov 20). If you cannot attend one or there is not one near you, please visit the Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) site.
Sit with these stories. Fellowship in the sufferings of our sisters and brothers. Allow their stories to settle in, to shock you, to sadden you, to fill you with a determination to stand up for the protections and rights of ALL queer people, especially our transgender sisters, brothers and gender-others.
Read, Reflect, Remember.