It would be nice if it turned out that we — The Women’s Center and More Light at LPTS, the Louisville Seminary community, the Louisville community, the state of Kentucky, the US, the world — didn’t need to observe the Transgender Day of Remembrance in 2008.
It would be nice if it turned out that no one had died as a consequence of violence directed against them because they were transgender, because their bodies, or their stories, or their behavior, didn’t match someone’s expectations or requirements — expectations or requirements that had to be met, in some context, for those bodies to be accepted, understood, even just permitted to go on living.
It would be more than nice, in fact. It would be wonderful. And when that day dawns in the new world in which every human being can be embraced for the unique gift they are, whatever their gender, we will celebrate.
But today, we will be planning to observe the Transgender Day of Remembrance once again on November 20, 2008. More Light at LPTS will be meeting at 6:00 p.m. in the Women’s Center to consider how More Light will help bring this observance to the Seminary and the local community, what role the group will be able to play this year, what concrete next steps need to be taken in the planning process, and what resources we will need for the observance this year. We hope many will attend.
The planning group will, once again, meet in the Women’s Center. No doubt, this year, as happens every year, the question will come up: “Why does the Women’s Center get involved in the Transgender Day of Remembrance?” And this year, as every year, the answer will come back to the issues of values, and of violence.
One way to think about the Women’s Center’s mission is to say it’s about educating and advocating and practicing the positive valuing of women — of all ages, sizes, shapes, races, classes, and other identifiers. It is about affirming that women’s lives are signficant, remarkable, and valuable, rather than trivial, negligible, disposable.
Women’s lives have historically, traditionally, often been treated as more disposable than those of men, and women’s lives in many places at this time continue to be viewed as disposable. It is one of the reasons violence against women is such a tremendous problem, and why there is so much work to be done to end violence against women.
Violent attacks on any lives represent the direct denial of their value. Violent attacks on those lives, those persons, are the ultimate assertion of the disposability, the dispensability, of those lives and those persons. Women’s lives have for long been targets of unspeakable violence. Long enough for us to have learned that the only defensible response to violence is solidarity with those touched by it, the solidarity of mourning the loss of value it entails, and the raising of voices in a demand for an end to it.
This includes raising women’s voices, along with GLBTQ voices, and as many voices as we can muster, to demand an end to violence against transfolk of every description, and to mourn the human loss of lives ended even one moment too soon.