As Thanksgiving approaches, we prepare to sit down together and remember the things we are thankful for. We may be thankful for family or good food, but how many of us are thankful to have just survived another year?
Since last November, 38 transgender people have been violently murdered. This number includes the still unsolved Oakland murder of Brandy Martell, a local community outreach worker.
Every year at this time, the transgender community comes together to remember and honor transgender people who have been murdered. They listen to a reading of the names and causes of death of nearly 700 transgender people who have been killed, many of whom were targeted simply because they were transgender and dared to express who they truly were.
This reading is graphic, and every year, I am reminded of the fear that transgender people must carry. Yet I return year after year because coming together to remember and honor those who have died is a healing act. Each year, I leave feeling rejuvenated and thankful for the transgender people in my life who are very much alive. And each year, I am fired up to work harder for transgender rights.
Transgender Day of Remembrance is an event that was started in San Francisco and spread throughout the United States and as far abroad as Malaysia, Ireland, France and the Philippines. It is hard to capture the true number of transgender people who have been killed because their deaths are sometimes reported using their old name or the victim is not reported as being transgender at all.
The Transgender Day of Remembrance website was created as a place to record the names, pictures, and numbers of transgender people who have been killed over the years and to make sure they are not forgotten.
This November, as a part of your Thanksgiving celebrations, I urge you to attend a Transgender Day of Remembrance event to remember and honor those who have died. On Friday, the Tri-City Health Center -- Brandy Martell's former employer -- is hosting Oakland's annual Transgender Day of Remembrance Event. Doors open at 7 p.m., ceremony starts at 7:30 p.m., Oakland Peace Center, Fellowship Hall, 11 Fairmont Ave., Oakland.
The event is open to all and you will be inspired by the strength and resilience of this proud community. For more information, visit http://transvisiontricity.org.
Rose Ellen Epstein, an Oakland resident, is a transgender ally who had worked with transgender youth.