The Power of Remembrance: Joy in the Midst of Grief

The Power of Remembrance: Joy in the Midst of Grief

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On this Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR), I am excited to share a small collection of comments and perspectives of transgender and non-binary people as they discuss what they love about their trans identities. In doing so, they demonstrate their power and resistance, refusing to allow themselves to be defined exclusively by the experiences of violence and trauma that are too present in transgender communities.  

History: Transgender Day of Remembrance is observed each November to remember the ongoing presence of anti-trans violence and its victims. It was started in 1999 to honor the life of Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was killed in 1998. Anti-trans violence and threats remain ubiquitous, as manifested by the politicians who have run successful campaigns with anti-trans platforms and the horrific news that 2021 was the deadliest year for trans people worldwide since the numbers have been recorded. 

It is an act of faith to remember experiences of harm, and such stories of remembrance throughout the Bible. God calls God’s people to remember their exodus from Egypt when it is their time to welcome the stranger in their midst. (Lev 19:34) God repeatedly reminds God’s people about God’s promises and the covenant God has made with them. And when these people sit in exile, having lived through the destruction of their homes and temple, they remember that home and these promises, crying and clinging to these memories. (Ps 137). Remembrance grounds God’s people and reminds them of the paths and possibilities ahead,and gives them strength for the journey.  
 
So, as we hold close those who have been harmed or killed because of anti-trans violence, let us also be heartened by stories such as those on these slides. View photos and stories here.
 
If you want to learn more about how to make your space or church more open and welcoming to trans and non-binary people, you can check out this Transvisibility Toolkit or look up more resources provided by the Open and Affirming Coalition 
 

Author

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Michael Streib

Michael is the Queer Justice Advocate for the Southern New England Conference UCC, and pastoral resident at First Congregational United Church of Christ in Somerville, MA

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