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Mourning via Zoom: Saying their names on TDoR brings us together while we are apart

Every Nov. 20, the names of hundreds of transgender and non-binary individuals who lost their lives to violence are read, all around the world, on the Transgender Day of Remembrance.

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Good Planet

Today is Friday, November 20, and on this day, transgender, gender non-conforming and non-binary individuals and allies around the world will read the names of murder victims who identified as they do. As I do.

We’ll do so in a new way: via Zoom, separated from one another, lighting candles alone, staring into screens instead of gathering together, as we have for so long, for our own safety.

Not surprisingly, 2020 remains on brand as being the worst year in memory: this is the deadliest year for transgender people since the counting began.

The death toll in the United States exceeds all prior years, with at least 34 victims — the Human Rights Campaign counts at least 37 — most of whom were Black and Latinx women.

You can read their names, from a list compiled by GLAAD, by clicking here.

But those three dozen names amount to just a portion of the victims being remembered; Gwendolyn Ann Smith, whose work tracking anti-trans violence led to the first commemoration in 1999, wrote this alarming report in the Bay Area News: “Worldwide, some 350 killings took place: nearly one for each day of the year.”

That quote gave me pause. I thought, after reading that statistic of 350: What a year it’s been, and not just for trans people. The pandemic has changed life as we know it in so many ways, including of course, sports.

Last night, I was reminded by a fellow journalist how the incredible courage of coming out as an athlete can be not only contagious, but inspiring to the entire LGBTQ community. Our experience and identities may be different, but not the challenges we overcome: First, self-acceptance, the risk of rejection, and often we face the potential of workplace, housing and healthcare discrimination. It’s... a lot.

But one of the things that gives me hope during these trying times, in addition to the privilege of telling these inspiring stories, is how the wider community has largely embraced and supported the fight for trans and non-binary athletes and everyday people, too. We matter, and losing even one of us to violence hurts all of us.

GLAAD

GLAAD, GLSEN, HRC and other groups and LGBTQ sites like our friends at The Advocate have devoted time and web space today and all this past week, just as Outsports has, to mark Trans Awareness Week, and this Transgender Day of Remembrance, often abbreviated as TDoR. HRC also released a report Thursday, on what the American Medical Association calls the “epidemic” of violence impacting the transgender community.

What can you do on this occasion? First, I invite you to read-up on some of our recent stories related to this commemoration and our transgender sports community, which is my community, too:

Next, consider attending one of the many TDoR services being held around the world, all online because of the coronavirus pandemic. Here are but a few:

Cathy Renna

If you cannot afford the time to attend an online event, I ask that you consider if you can afford to make a donation to one of these 15 worthy charities benefiting transgender people. Let us hope their work and the support of our allies brings an end to anti-trans violence, someday.