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Trans Day of Remembrance

Deadliest Year.

How do you hold the grief of all trans people murdered?

How do you let go of the barriers around your heart to let yourself feel the humanity of the people killed for their honesty?

How do you stay present in a fight for equality when you know that with visibility comes backlash and violence? The past two years have each been the deadliest year on record for trans folks murdered.


Stay with me. 


Author Bio:

Edmund Green Langdell (they/them) is an ever becoming enby, whose work focuses on promoting human and environmental wellbeing through design and education. They work for Play Out Apparel as a Marketing Assistant. They strive to spread love and healing in the world through connection and education. They also design eco-friendly needle felted packers. They earned a BFA in Fashion Design from Parsons School of Design, where they worked as a Peer Health Advocate for four years, and created and led Gender Venting, a group for transgender students.


Author Bio:

Edmund Green Langdell (they/them) is an ever becoming enby, whose work focuses on promoting human and environmental wellbeing through design and education. They work for Play Out Apparel as a Marketing Assistant. They strive to spread love and healing in the world through connection and education. They also design eco-friendly needle felted packers. They earned a BFA in Fashion Design from Parsons School of Design, where they worked as a Peer Health Advocate for four years, and created and led Gender Venting, a group for transgender students.



Deadliest Year.

How do you hold the grief of all trans people murdered?

How do you let go of the barriers around your heart to let yourself feel the humanity of the people killed for their honesty?

How do you stay present in a fight for equality when you know that with visibility comes backlash and violence? The past two years have each been the deadliest year on record for trans folks murdered.


Stay with me. 


Experiencing Grief, Deeply.


There is a tendency to avoid pain. It’s not pleasant. In years past I never knew quite how to approach trans day of remembrance because I didn’t know how to be open to that much grief. And I didn’t see how grief when felt fully can grow compassion, love, connection, and when suppressed can transform into violence and hatred. Now when grief arises I turn towards it. I lean into it, and welcome it. I’m grateful for my capacity to feel. 


Roots of the Trans Day of Remembrance


In 1999, transgender advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith organized a vigil honoring the memory of Rita Hester, a trans woman killed in 1998, and all the trans people killed since her death. This was the first Trans Day of Remembrance, and marked the beginning of an important tradition of honoring trans people lost to violence each year.


At least fourty-six transgender and gender nonconforming people have been lost this year to violence, the majority of whom are black and latinx transgender women. In 2020 there were at least thirty-seven transgender and gender nonconforming folks lost to violence. I must say “at least” because many instances of anti-trans violence go unreported, and many victims are misgendered, so these numbers are almost definitely an underestimate. In the previous years that the Human Rights Campaign has been tracking anti-trans murders (since 2013), there has been an average of at least twenty two trans people killed each year. There has been a dramatic increase in anti trans violence in the past two years. The life expectancy of black transgender women is between thirty-five and thirty-seven years old. The frequency of black transgender women murdered is so high that the American Medical Association has declared it an epidemic. 

Grief Connects Us, All of Us.


How can we grow with grief? What I didn’t realize for the longest time is that when we allow ourselves to feel pain, to really dive deep into grief and everything that comes with it, we expand. Our capacity to feel love, empathy, and joy also expands. Our ability to connect with all of humanity, with all of life increases. We do not experience this alone. 


Everyone is connected in some way to people who have died. We all grieve. I have known too many cis people who cannot bring themselves to grieve the death of a trans person because they have created a barrier in their mind separating themselves from the trans person, and blocking any acknowledgment of shared experiences. 


I talked with a cis friend of mine recently who told me that a difficult barrier for him to break down in order to have empathy for trans people was an idea that if he showed interest in or empathy for a certain group, then he would belong to that group. He was afraid that people would think he was trans if he showed interest in learning about the trans community. 



We Need Your Grief. 


We need your empathy now. We need your grief. We need your heart to expand large enough to include us. We are dying because people can’t accept our humanity. Can’t accept that humanity is more varied, complex, beautiful, vibrant, than they have been taught. Can’t recognize that people who they see as different from themselves are still deserving of dignity, respect, and life. 


How can we come to see that within life, there is no other? There is no “like me” and “not like me.” That extending your heart to the suffering of the world helps everyone? Why are there political conversations around who deserves empathy, who deserves dignity, who deserves life? It breaks my heart, because we all do.


Honoring our transcestors is not something only for trans people to do. The trans people who have lived their truth, and fought for others to be able to do the same, despite knowing that they could lose their lives for doing so, have paved the way for all of us to be free. 


To learn more about work that transgender people of color have done to create a more just and caring world, and the impact they have had on queer life and rights, read this article:

The Black and brown activists who started pride, The Avenue, The Brookings Institution



Below is a list of the names of the trans people killed so far this year. 

Please read each name, and feel deeply as you read them. Speak them if you can. Light a candle for those who have been taken.


To learn more about who they were, see the Human Rights Campaign’s regularly updated list


Tyianna Alexander

Samuel Edmund Damián Valentín

Bianca “Muffin” Bankz

Dominique Jackson

Fifty Bandz

Alexus Braxton

Chyna Carrillo

Jeffrey “JJ” Bright

Jasmine Cannady

Jenna Franks

Diamond Kyree Sanders

Rayanna Pardo

Jaida Peterson

Dominique Lucious

Remy Fennell

Tiara Banks

Natalia Smut

Iris Santos

Tiffany Thomas

Keri Washington

Jahaira DeAlto

Whispering Wind Bear Spirit

Sophie Vásquez

Danika “Danny” Henson

Serenity Hollis

Oliver “Ollie” Taylor

Thomas Hardin

Poe Black

EJ Boykin

Aidelen Evans

Taya Ashton

Shai Vanderpump

Tierramarie Lewis

Miss CoCo

Pooh Johnson

Disaya Monaee

Briana Hamilton

Kiér Laprí Kartier

Mel Groves

Royal Poetical Starz

Zoella “Zoey” Rose Martinez

Jo Acker

Jessi Hart

Rikkey Outumuro

Marquiisha Lawrence

Jenny De Leon 



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