Kelly Moyer’s Keynote Address At San Diego’s Transgender Day Of Remembrance Memorium

This is the speech that my friend Kelly Moyer gave at San Diego’s Transgender Day Of Remembrance memoriam at the San Diego Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center. It’s not the usual message of sad memoriam, or a message of hope for the future — she instead focused on how trans people treat each other.

There’s a lesson in here too for broader lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community on how to treat our siblings in community.


San Diego Transgender Day Of Remembrance Keynote Address

By Kelly Moyer

November 20, 2010

When I was asked to speak at this year’s Day of Remembrance, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to say. Thumbnail Link: Kelly Moyer's Prepared Remarks For San Diego's 2010 Transgender Day Of Remembrance MemoriamSome previous speeches have shared messages of hope and change and progress. This will not be one of those speeches. Other speeches called us to action and encouraged us to be out, to educate the people around us and show them our humanity. This will not be one of those speeches either. We do have reasons to be hopeful, and we do need to keep educating people, but there are other issues we need to discuss tonight.

Every year, we read the names and stories of people who were murdered for being – or appearing to be – trans. At the end, we recognize all the victims whose stories were not told, and whose names we will never know. But we never talk about what may be the largest group of victims. Violence does not always involve blows from a fist or bullets from a gun. People who take their own lives – overwhelmed by pain and driven to despair by the hatred, cruelty and intolerance around them – are just as much victims as the people whose names we hear tonight.

News reports talk about a recent epidemic of suicides amongst youth who were bullied for being – or seeming to be – trans, bisexual, lesbian or gay. It is an epidemic, but it is hardly recent. Countless studies have shown that suicide rates in the LGBT community – especially amongst youth and trans people – are many times greater than the overall population, and have been for some time now. A recent survey found that 41% of trans participants had attempted suicide at some point in their lives, which is 25 times higher than the general population… and that only counts the survivors. If you know three trans people, it is likely that at least one of them has attempted suicide at some point. I am one of those survivors.

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As horrible as the statistics are, it is easy to feel overwhelmed… to feel like there is nothing we can do to stop the deaths. If it doesn’t affect us personally, it is easy to think of it as a problem that other people need to solve. But even if you aren’t an activist, or can’t afford to donate money to organizations, or can’t be out in your personal life, there are are some simple things we all can do to make a difference.

The first thing each of us can do to help reduce trans suicides is to stop being part of the problem. We can’t just talk about the hatred and prejudice directed at us by other people… we have to confront our own. We all have prejudice of one sort or another. It might be based on the color of someone’s skin or the language they speak, their political or religious beliefs, the size of their body or a disability they have. Maybe it’s directed toward lesbians, or gay men, or straight people. Or perhaps it is directed at members of this very community.

Far too often, we tear each other down instead of building each other up. This person gets cast out because they want an operation we would never consider. That person is shunned because they don’t want surgery that we had. He gets excluded from groups because we don’t like his ideas about gender, she’s left out because she “looks too trans.” Nobody talks to her because she does sex work. Nobody talks to him because he’s gay. We don’t respect them because they don’t want hormones, or they’re genderqueer, or they crossdress. Or maybe we just aren’t quite ready to be seen in public with a trans friend, because who knows what people will think about us.

Making people feel disrespected, isolated and worthless contributes to suicide, and all of that… all of it shows up in our community. We do that to each other! We can’t very well demand that the rest of the world treat us better than we treat each other, can we? Think about the way you interact with other community members – the things you say and do, openly or behind their back – and ask yourself how you will feel if you find out tomorrow that they killed themselves tonight.

The second thing each of us can do is to actively be part of the solution. We can do better than just not making each other feel disrespected, isolated and worthless. If we truly act like a community, we can help each other feel respected, accepted and worthwhile. But what does being a community mean? Who does it include? Is it only people like us? Is it only people we like? Does it just mean showing up for a few events each year, or something more? Is it even possible for us to be a community when we are so different from each other? I think so.

Being a community doesn’t mean we all have to be friends. It doesn’t mean we have to agree about everything. It doesn’t mean we have to agree about anything! It doesn’t even mean we have to like each other. What it does mean is that we treat each other with respect, even when we disagree or dislike one another. It means knowing that every voice deserves to be heard, and making sure that happens. It means standing up for each other when one of us is being harassed. It can be as simple as sharing information about safe housing, or available jobs, or going to the hospital with someone to make sure they are treated well… or sharing some food. Being a community means understanding that we are stronger together than we will ever be apart… that we need each other, and can count on one another.

Suicide takes too many people from us, and scars many people it doesn’t kill. There are members of this community struggling to hang on right now. Some of them aren’t here because it was just too hard to step through the front door. Some are sitting in this room right now.

If you are one of them, I want you to know something. We may not know each other, but you are an important part of my community. I feel stronger knowing that you and I are in this together, because you add value to this world that nobody else could ever replace. I care that you are here, and if I found out tomorrow that the pain was too much to bear… that you couldn’t hold on any longer… it would break my heart. And I am not the only person who feels that way.

I would like everyone in this room who feels the way I do – who would be devastated by the loss of anyone here – to raise your hand and show our community that you care.

Thank you.

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

12th Annual International Transgender Day of Remembrance

Because people like Andrea Lafferty still blanket the world with warnings like this one…

She warns that if the Democrats are successful [with ENDA], it will “change the laws in 38 states and require schools to hire transgendered teachers.” The “ultimate goal,” she adds, is to “force churches and other Christian groups to have to hire homosexuals and transgendered individuals.” [SOURCE]

…today, we remember all who have suffered under, struggled with, and fought back against that blanket’s cruel weight:


TDOR events and locations 2010

Good As You

—  admin

Marking the 12th Annual Transgender Day of Remembrance

The following is from HRC’s Associate Director of Diversity Allyson Robinson:

Over the next few days, transgender people and their allies all over the world will be gathering to observe the twelfth annual Transgender Day of Remembrance.

I was asked recently why violence against transgender people continues when our society seems to have made so much progress toward diversity and inclusion.  I answered by pointing out that anti-transgender violence is all about our society’s gender norms, and norms always mean power.  Those who adhere to the norms have power, and sadly, those who have power are often all too willing to resort to violence to keep it.  Violent acts against transgender people attempt to send a message to the entire transgender and gender-variant community that our departure from the norms will not be tolerated, that we’ll only be allowed to live if we do so on someone else’s terms.  That’s tyranny, pure and simple, and until we bring it to an end, transgender people continue to be vulnerable by virtue of the very lives we live.

By simply living our truth in full view of the world each day, transgender people risk hostility, cruelty, and even brutality from those who seek to enforce their norms upon us.  Even with all my privilege as a white, well-educated and employed transgender woman, I’ve learned from harsh experience that just walking down the street with my head held high or taking my children into a public restroom can excite violent reactions.  For transgender people who don’t have this high level of privilege – the vast majority of our community – things can be much, much worse.   Because of the many overlapping prejudices they face, they can quickly find themselves in a deadly spiral of unemployment and homelessness that places them at much higher risk for violence and death.  Until we as a nation recognize that the joy of being yourself is a right inherent to everyone, and until we protect that right by enacting laws like the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, transgender people will continue to be vulnerable.

This week my wife and children and I, along with friends from my church and my HRC colleagues, joined the transgender community and our allies here in D.C. to commemorate those we’ve lost in the last year to tyranny, prejudice, ignorance and hate.  We lit candles in their honor and intoned their names, one by one, as a symbol of our commitment to remember them and to honor their memory with action.

I hope you’ll join with us by attending an observance in your community – and by committing yourself to action that honors the legacy of those we’ve lost.

Human Rights Campaign | HRC Back Story

—  admin

Transgender Day of Remembrance – 2010

TDOR is this Saturday at most places around the world. This video is to give tribute to those who have lost their lives because of trans hate.

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

Trevor Project calls for moment of silence for suicide victims at 7 p.m. Dallas time today

We aren’t aware of any specific events planned for Dallas in response to the suicides of six teens in the U.S. who were gay or perceived as gay in September, but it looks like a National Safe Schools Day of Action will take place next Tuesday, Oct. 5. Also, there will be a Stand Up to Youth Suicide Rally and March in San Francisco on Friday, Oct. 8, and rallies are reportedly being planned next weekend through the “It Gets Better” project, in advance of National Coming Out Day on Oct. 11. Does anyone know of anything that’s planned for Dallas? As we reported earlier, many plan to gather around Big Tex at the State Fair at noon Saturday, Oct. 9 during the unofficial Gay Day, so perhaps this would be a good time to do it. Just a thought.

Anyhow, The Trevor Project is calling for a moment of silence and reflection at 7 tonight Dallas time in remembrance of the victims. Here’s the full press release:

The Trevor Project Asks All Americans for a Moment of Silence at 8pm ET, 5pm PT Tonight

(West Hollywood, CA, October 1, 2010) – Statement from Charles Robbins, Executive Director of The Trevor Project:

Late last night, The Trevor Project learned of yet another young LGBTQ person who died by suicide. Raymond Chase was a sophomore at Johnson and Wales University in Rhode Island when he took his own life on Wednesday. Words do not adequately describe the tragic loss felt across the country for the five promising young individuals who were so isolated and felt so alone and cut off from their peers and society that suicide became an option.

We encourage all people who feel connected to these tragic events, whether friends, family, peers, community members, and sympathetic human beings to pause today at 8:00 PM Eastern, 5:00 PM Pacific for a moment of silence and reflection in remembrance of Raymond Chase, Tyler Clementi, Seth Walsh, Asher Brown and Billy Lucas. Events are being planned across the country in the coming weeks to mourn the loss of these young people, and to take action to stop bullying crimes that lead to suicide, and a website

To help stop the cycle that leads young lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning people to feel they are alone, connect them to The Trevor Project. There is a place that’s free of bullying and judgment online, where young LGBTQ people, their friends and allies ages 13-24 can connect safely and be themselves. More than 13,000 young people already belong to, and more youth join every day. If you or someone you care about shows warning signs for suicide, please do not hesitate to call The Trevor Lifeline at: 866-4-U-TREVOR (866-488-7386). The call is free and confidential.

We mourn the loss of these 5 young people, and today we will stand in silent solidarity for an end to the unnecessary loss of young lives.

—  John Wright

Vigils planned in wake of 4 gay-bullying suicides

Asher Brown

Vigils are reportedly being planned around the country for the weekend of Oct. 9-10 to honor and remember the four youth who’ve recently committed suicide in response to anti-gay bullying and harassment. Those youth are Asher Brown, 13, of Houston; Seth Walsh, 13, of Tehachapi, Calif.; Billy Lucas, 15, of Greensburg, Ind.; and Tyler Clementi of New Jersey.

A conference call is planned for Thursday night, Sept. 30 to coordinate the vigils. We’ll have more info as soon as it becomes available.

—  John Wright

DVtv: Video from Sunday’s Stonewall commemoration and, how The Dallas Morning News got it wrong — again

Apparently the Dallas Morning News attended a different rally last night than me. At the rally The DMN attended, all the LGBT community did was complain about Democrats. There was no mention of the Texas Republican platform. There was no mention of the hatred from religious extremists going on across the street. No mention of the success last week at the DART board meeting. No mention of the Rainbow Lounge Raid. No remembrance of Harvey Milk or other hate crime victims.

Nope. Just non-stop complaining about Democrats.

At the rally I attended, one banner read, “Dems: Keep your promises.”

One. That’s it.

But signs accused homophobes of murder and demanded equality now.

After savagely ridiculing the Republican platform and skewering the handful of protesters blaring hatred on bullhorns across the street, Daniel Cates did have a line for some Democrats who are bowing to right-wing pressure.

“The time has come to lead or get out of the way,” he said.

One line.

But from the Morning News article, the rally was a Democrat-bashfest.

What happened?

Several of the speakers asked me if I thought it was odd that the Morning News contacted them ahead of time. I answered that if a writer didn’t report regularly on LGBT issues, he was just doing his homework so he’d be up on the issues and concerns of the community when he got there. That’s just being prepared.

But that’s not what happened. The DMN article doesn’t quote what any speaker said during the rally. The article might quote what some of them said ahead of the rally. On the phone.

But not one quote FROM the rally. Not one chant from the parade route. Not one answer to the religious extremists.

So according to the Morning News, the rally was all about bashing the Democrats. Interesting, because it would have been hard to find a single Republican in the crowd. And if there were any Republicans there, other than the reporter whose piece could be used as a Republican Party press release and the counter-demonstrators across the street, it sure didn’t seem like they were very excited about the current Texas Republican Party with its platform calling for making criminals out of LGBTA people.

Read our coverage of the march and rally by going here.

—  David Taffet