Opening speech by Rev. Wendy Woodruff at the 2012 Transgender Day of Remembrance.
We gather this evening to mourn. We also gather to celebrate the lives that have been lost and to dedicate ourselves to making a better world for those who see themselves or are seen by society as different from the norm.
Take a minute and open your eyes. Open your ears. Open your hearts and your total selves. Allow the memories, the sorrows and the love to flow in.
Tonight, we remember those who have been separated from their families just because of who they are.
- We remember those who live in risky situations just because of who they are.
- We remember those who must work in dangerous jobs just because of who they are.
- We remember those who must hide to work or simply to survive in societies who don’t accept who they are.
- We remember those who have been robbed, maimed and thrown away by society just because of who they are.
- Mostly, we remember those who have paid with their lives for being who they were meant to be.
Tonight, we mourn those we have lost.
- We mourn those we knew and now miss.
- We mourn those we never met, though we understand their circumstances.
- We mourn those who suffered and died trying to live as they were created to live.
At the same time, tonight, we celebrate supportive family and friends.
- We celebrate places where we can be ourselves without feeling the need to hide.
- We celebrate medical, psychological, and legal professionals who help us to be who we are.
- We celebrate organizations like those who sponsor this remembrance and who help and support our growth and acceptance.
Tonight, we pledge ourselves to be true to those we have lost:
- By being our authentic selves.
- By reaching out to at least one person who struggles with gender identity.
- By determining to use our personal resources, finances, skills, contacts and love, to help others.
- By working for a world where we can all be accepted and loved just as we are.
In my church, at this point, we would say “Amen.” That simply means something like, “So be it,” or “Let it be done.”
So, I ask you to say, “Let it be done,” and mean it!
Let it be done!
Rev. Wendy Woodruff helped set the energy and tone of the 2012 Transgender Day of Remembrance in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on November 19, 2012.