Greater NW Pride: Calendars, Remembrances, and Thanksgiving
Calendars, Remembrances, and Thanksgiving
I carry two paper program calendars with me from my respective homes in the Presbyterian Church (USA)(PCUSA) and The United Methodist Church (UMC). Each one tells me the holy days in the life of the Church, the secular holidays like Veterans Day and Thanksgiving, as well as the programmatic special days, like “World Communion Sunday,” “Youth in the Church,” and “Disability Sunday,” to name a few. On my iPhone, I also have a calendar that reminds me of the birthdays and the anniversaries of family and friends. Then there is also the LGBTQIA+ calendar of events that pop up in my personal calendar, such as “Pride Month,” “National Coming Out Day,” and “World AIDS Day.”
One of the days that popped up on one of my many calendars is Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) on Nov. 20, 2020. No, I couldn’t find that day on my PCUSA or UMC calendar, though I hold out hope that one day, it will be labeled in our church calendars and remembered in our congregations. What is this day focused on? From the Glaad.org website: “Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) was started in 1999 by transgender advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith as a vigil to honor the memory of Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was killed in 1998. The vigil commemorated all the transgender people lost to violence since Rita Hester's death, and began an important tradition that has become the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance.”
In the LGBTQIA+ community, there is no doubt that more people who are transgender, especially transgender people of color, are killed in the United States than any part of our community, every year. While many of us face hate where we live, those people who are transgender have been attacked by the current Administration in Washington, DC, with attempts to deny people who are transgender to serve in the military, or receive needed health care. All because of who God created each and every person. Remember: if we are all created in the image of God, then God is LGBTQIA+ and non-LGBTQIA+.
In just this year, 2020, so far, we remember:
Yunieski Carey Herrera, a 39-year-old transgender Latina, was killed in Miami, Florida on November 17, 2020. She was 39 years old.
Angel Unique, a Black transgender woman, was killed in Memphis, Tennessee, on October 25, 2020. She was 25 years old.
Sara Blackwood, a transgender woman, was killed in Indianapolis, Indiana on October 11, 2020.
Brooklyn Deshuna, a Black transgender woman, was killed in Shreveport, Louisiana on October 7, 2020. She was 20 years old.
Felycya Harris, a transgender woman, was killed in Augusta, Georgia in October 2020. She was 33 years old.
Michelle Michellyn Ramos Vargas, a Puerto Rican transgender woman, was killed in San Germán, Puerto Rico on September 30, 2020. She was in her mid-30s.
Mia Green, a Black transgender woman, was killed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on September 28, 2020. She was 29 years old.
Aerrion Burnett, a Black transgender woman, was killed in independence, Missouri on September 19, 2020.
Kee Sam, a Black transgender woman, was killed in Lafayette, Louisiana on August 12, 2020.
Lea Rayshon Daye, a Black transgender woman, died in Cuyahoga County Jail in Cleveland, Ohio on August 30. She was 28 years old.
Aja Raquell Rhone-Spears, a Black transgender woman, was killed in Portland, Oregon on July 28, 2020. She also went by Rocky Rhone.
Queasha D Hardy, a Black transgender woman, was killed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on July 27, 2020. She was 22 years old.
Dior H Ova / Tiffany Harris, a Black transgender woman, was killed in the Bronx, New York.
Marilyn Cazares, a transgender Latina, was killed in Brawley, California.
Summer Taylor, a white non-binary person, was killed in Seattle, Washington on July 4, 2020.
Bree Black, a Black transgender woman, was killed in Pompano Beach, Florida on July 3, 2020. She was 27 years old.
Shaki Peters, a Black transgender woman, was killed in Amite City, Louisiana on July 1, 2020. She was 32 years old.
Merci Mack, a Black transgender woman, was killed in Dallas, Texas, on June 30, 2020. She was 22 years old.
Brayla Stone, a Black transgender girl, was killed in Dallas, Texas on June 25, 2020. She was 17 years old.
Brian “Egypt’ Powers, a Black transgender person, was killed in Akron, Ohio on June 13, 2020. They were 43 years old.
Selena Reyes-Hernandez, a transgender woman, was killed in Chicago, Illinois on May 31, 2020. She was 37 years old.
Jayne Thompson, a white transgender woman, was killed in Mesa County, Colorado on May 9, 2020. She was 33 years old.
Riah Milton, a Black transgender woman, was killed in Liberty Township, Ohio on June 9, 2020. She was 25 years old.
Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells, a Black transgender woman, was killed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on June 9, 2020.
Tony McDade, a Black transgender man, was killed in Tallahasee Florida on May 27, 2020.
Helle Jae O’Regan, a transgender woman, was killed in San Antonio, Texas on May 6, 2020. She was 20 years old.
Nina Pop, a Black transgender woman, was killed in Sikeston, Missouri on May 3, 2020.
Penélope Díaz Ramírez, a transgender Latina, was killed in Puerto Rico on April 13, 2020.
Layla Pelaez Sánchez, a transgender Latina, was killed in Puerto Rico on April 21, 2020. She was killed with Serena Angelique Velásquez Ramos. She was 21 years old.
Serena Angelique Velázquez Ramos, a transgender Latina, was killed in Puerto Rico on April 21, 2020. She was killed with Layla Pelaez Sánchez. She was 32 years old.
Johanna Metzger, a white transgender woman, was killed in Baltimore, Maryland on April 11, 2020.
Lexi, a transgender woman, was killed in Harlem, New York on March 28, 2020. She was 33 years old.
Monika Diamond, a Black transgender woman, was killed in Charlotte, North Carolina on March 18, 2020. She was 34 years old.
Scott/Scottlynn Devore, a gender non-conforming person, was killed in Augusta, Georgia. They were 51 years old.
Yampi Méndez Arocho, a transgender Latino, was killed in Moca, Puerto Rico on March 5, 2020. He was 19 years old.
Neulisa Luciano Ruiz, a transgender Latina, was killed in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico on February 24, 2020.
Dustin Parker, a white transgender man, was killed in McAlester, Oklahoma, on January 1, 2020. He was 25 years old.
Perhaps each of us can say their name as we light a candle. And let us remember them as we say, "God, in your mercy, we remember."
As we come to Thanksgiving Day in our collective calendars in the US, with all the pre-cautions placed out there in the media about not getting together with family and friends, unless they’ve been part of our social-COVID 19 bubble for the last fourteen days, many of us will still Zoom, FaceTime, or GoogleDuo with family and friends around the country and world. This Thanksgiving holiday seems to be more family and family-of-choice focused than even Christmas, New Year’s, or Easter. Let us give thanks for the many gifts we have in terms of our relationships with one another. For those who feel alone and isolated this holiday, please feel free to reach out to me or a friend or family member. Let us remember those who are not able to be with us, who are gone, simply because of who God created them to be. And let us dedicate our lives to making this world that God created for us a safer, healthier, and more peaceful world in 2021 for one and all, both in the LGBTQIA+ community, as well as with our non-LGBTQIA+ friends, allies, and family members.