A Message on Transgender Day of Remembrance

As you may know, November 20th each year is dedicated to remembering those transgender people we have lost. It is so very hard to know exactly how many we lose every year. Police reports often refuse to acknowledge the transgender person by any other than their birth names in their reports. Often, family members try to cover or ignore their transgender status, thinking that admitting it would be an embarrassment greater than even suicide. Still, others are lost who have hidden who they are, and remain unknown. In cases of suicide, children are discovered to have been transgender only when their parents clean up their rooms. For such a small community that we are, we suffer a very large amount of abuse, discrimination and death. Until people begin to really see us for who we are, this horrible trend will continue.

Today, there are many tears I will shed over lives not lived, talents lost, smiles to never be seen, and laughter that will not fill the air. My heart sinks in the grief, for loved ones left behind, both those who accepted and those who rejected. I turn to my faith and find the power to forgive, the strength to stand, and the determination to educate. I’m resolved to show love in the face of hate. I ask you to join me.

I ask that today you light a candle. Take a look into its flame, and for that moment feel the warm spirits that left us too soon. As an outspoken transgender woman, I cannot tell you that one day I, myself, might not be lost to violence. I cannot say that about any of my transgender friends who have become my family. One day, with your help, I pray that I can live without fear. I pray for the day WE ALL CAN.

Terri Sharp
Proud Transgender Florida Democrat

Click here for a comprehensive list of Transgender Day of Remembrance events taking place all over the state compiled by our friends at Equality Florida.