Trans Day of Remembrance

At the end of transgender awareness week is Trans Day of Remembrance, November 20. This day is marked to honour and draw attention to the victims of anti-trans and transphobic violence that is enacted upon members of the trans community. For some, the day is also called Trans Day of Resilience, celebrating the incredible strength and leadership of trans communities, and dreaming up new futures.

To honour both, we’ve gathered some words from trans artists – messages of love and tenderness, of dreams and resilience.

illustration by Neta Rose

by gabe maharjan 

this is nothing more
          than the makings of our creation,
not really a   retaliation
                 against these lines called nation.

unpacking boxes of bodies
          assembled by rules
          of some unassumed machination,
enforced upon persons
not previously prescribed only
                                    x         or y;
before polarity set these
                         ugly cultural limitations.

so it’s hard,
                    you know?
acknowledging novelty in
modern          glitter revolutions,
cuz the glitter’s always been there:
in history’s shadow concealed
all the sparkles reveal

An Ode to Every Moment You Lived
by Heath V. Salazar

Every trans and gender non-conforming person is born loved
From the moment we arrive, we join a legacy of gut-instinct
Our laughter is tethered to a tapestry of harmonies that echoes beyond centuries
Each cell that brings us into essence holds the history of our galaxy
We are so much greater than the parts of bodies our media asks us to compartmentalize

Even in the sunkenest town
Be it by winding road or behind slammed up door
Pebbles still skimper across windows on the worst of days
Carpenters of hope for a better future
Handywork by backyard ancestors who hold no revery for borderline

This Family is one that holds us even before we’ve gotten to meet ourselves
Our hands are never empty because they are so preciously held by those who came before
Outside voices attempt to rot our roots prescribing countdowns to our birthdays
But today, even as we grieve Our kin, Our elders, Our children,
We light yet another candle for each and every one of you

Even in death, every trans and gender non-conforming person is loved
From the moment you were are taken from us, we’ve wrapped tourniquet around your memory
Our rage plunged its teeth into the violences so unworthy of having breached your touch
Each ounce of progress becomes an ode to every moment you lived
We are so fortunate to have been witness to all the ways you’ve altered history

Here’s to the flutters in the stomachs of every person you turned bashful
To the mannerisms you inhabited only a roommate would know
Here’s to the melodies you hummed in the hushes of privacy
To the garments that once draped you and held on to your smoke
Here’s to the siblings who’d hear your whisper in a back to back room
To every arm and every grip that once embraced you
For every second that you’re missed, I remember the places you’re still alive
Here’s to your love
Here’s to your mind
Here’s to your everlasting life

Trans Day of Remembrance/Resistance/Resilience
by Leon Tsai

in a world
where queer existence remains a threat and
when coloured pride still stands a protest
where silences fill before laughter and
when stares on streetcars never stop:
20 turned 21 – an immigrant trans femme
surviving into 2021 with
a year full of grief in solitude…
350+ reported bodies worldwide
murdered, suffocated, and burned alive 

i go on walks
while trying to stay alive – 

moody tranny sings the blues
under the blue moon
cursing on the colonial-patriarchy
in honour of broken hearts on stolen lands 

white supremacy is not the shark
but the murky waters of marginalization 

hexing the state over blood spilled
shadows lurking in the shallow waters
i still stop for the flowers
waiting for the moon to feel full
a revolution of feelings
staying soft so we don’t break
but still cry for how we rot
waiting for the flowers we deserve 

resting golden brown as
we still dance even while wilting 

bodies and earth as one
i dare to dream of freedom
to believe in a liberation through softness
i dare to dream of abolishing the police and state to
rejoice in community in reparations and justice
i dare to dream of
remembering as resistance
in healing and sustaining our resilience

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