Cities across the country marked #TDOR (Transgender Day of Remembrance) last week. For many, this day and the events associated with it, can be incredibly painful — reminders of the extreme form violence can take against people based on their gender identity, gender expression, or association and love for someone who is trans, gender non-conforming or non-binary. #TDOR is often a day of anger as well as reflection. It is also a day filled with reminders of fear, as well as grief.
As all too many of us know, hate-motivated violence that ends in death is only one of many types of violence, discrimination, and relational dynamics that are abusive. Numerically, an exponentially higher number of trans, gender non-conforming, non-binary people and loved ones have experienced sexual abuse or assault (in childhood or adulthood); domestic, dating, or intimate partner violence; family violence or neglect. Almost all have experienced microaggressions (or macroaggressions) — comments by others that cut us down, erase us, minimize our experiences, or warp the truth of our existence — on a daily basis.
Although remembering our dead is vitally important, it is equally important to acknowledge that literally millions of trans, gender non-conforming, non-binary individuals and loved ones live with the aftermath of previous sexual abuse and/or in fear of sexual or intimate partner violence in the future. Literally millions of trans, gender non-conforming, non-binary people and loved ones, struggle with suicidal depression as a result of previous abuse (in many cases, recurring or multiple), as well as the realities of living in a world that is often harsh, cruel, and brutally painful.
In these days following Transgender Day of Remembrance, let’s also remember those who are living daily with the wounds of sexual assault, intimate partner violence, and suicidal thoughts and actions. Let us also remember the friends, community(ies) and providers who embrace us with skill and understanding, with kindness and compassion.