- November 22, 2013
The following post, part of HRC’s week-long observance of Transgender Day of Remembrance, comes from Cherno Biko. In a landmark, one-person show this summer titled “LIFE: Lessons Learned from Living Authentically,” Cherno publicly came out as intersex/transgender. It was also Cherno’s 22nd birthday. Since then, Cherno has been redefining realness and helping create a safer world for everyone to live authentically. Cherno, who prefers using they/their rather than gendered pronouns, lives in Ohio.
On this Trans* Day of Remembrance my spirit cries out to the heavenly hosts for lives cut short like Erykah Morgan, Islan Nettles and Domonique Newburn. My heart literally broke every time I received a call or shared a post concerning the demise of yet another young trans person. I’ve been running on auto-pilot since April, unable to process the murder of my biological brother James E. Lane, in whose funeral I sat when I learned of the murder of CeCe Dove Acoff. CeCe was from my own great state of Ohio. I actually had the pleasure of meeting her earlier this year. I witnessed her beauty and performance talent safely hidden in a Cleveland ballroom. Unfortunately as I and CeCe would soon learn, life isn’t always a ball.
During the repast for my brother’s funeral I clicked the link of a Cleveland Plain Dealer article titled “Oddly Dressed Body Found In Pond Identified”. The incredibly insulting and dehumanizing article reported that Cece had been stabbed multiple times, undressed and tied to a cement block. It was then that I realized I’m not supposed to be here.
In a world where young, poor, trans people of color are murdered simply because of who we are I am filled with sadness and fear. With each act of violence inching closer and closer to home I struggle with the realization that I could be next. The statistics are clear with the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs reporting that 73 % of all LGBT homicides were people of color.
We are in a state of emergency and transgender people of color are being massacred. So what are YOU going to do about it?
For starters consider joining TDORUnite.org. We are a multi-racial, multi-faith, multi-generational coalition of people with diverse gender experiences, joining forces in 2013. We are uniting around our concern for anti-transgender violence -- and the violence against women, particularly transgender women of color, that is so evident on November 20 each year.
You can participate with folks all around the country by submitting a picture proclaiming:
#My life is valuable
#Your life is valuable
#Our lives are valuable
On November 20, HRC joined community partners across the country in observing Transgender Day of Remembrance. Vigils will be held this weekend in Cleveland OH, Lafeyette LA and other cities. Visit hrc.org/tdor for event details.