trans voice

In Remembrance -by Lee Hanten

The Transgender Day of Remembrance is next week, and I found myself pondering what that day could mean (at least for me) in the wake of yesterday’s election.

The trans community does a lot of remembering. We remember childhoods spent answering to the wrong name. We remember the excitement of twirling in our favorite green velvet dress. We remember the euphoria of seeing our silhouette in a binder for the first time. We remember the loss of a past self. Some of us remember life before the internet- before Tumblr- before you could log on and meet strangers just like you sharing their stories of what it was to live outside the margins of the gender binary, and seeing just a glimmer of hope in that. We remember how different our bodies felt before hormones. We remember what life was like before the great gender upheaval- and how much better life can be now. We remember the looks of confusion- concern- or outright disgust from friends and relatives when we announced our new, better, future selves. We remember the names that bigots threw at us when we were at our lowest. We remember headlines of strangers like us that didn’t get to see their next birthday. We remember our friends. We remember our trailblazers that have fought for legislation to allow us to exist proudly and legally. We remember to live our lives loving every moment that we get, because too many of them are cut short.

I remember to get out of bed every day, grateful that the sun rose up, and knowing the sun will set again. I remember to put my pants on one leg at a time (although I hear that putting them on two at a time isn’t so hard). I remember that despite the fact that my life is good, not everyone’s is. I remember that it is my job, my obligation, my duty to make sure that one day this isn’t fact anymore.

Today, I remember that I am an American. I remember waiting in line at my polling place to cast a ballot for the future. I remember the dread of watching election results roll in. I remember the taste of bourbon on my tongue, attempting to wash out the vitriol leftover from this election cycle. I remember wanting to cry. I remember hoping that everything would be alright.

Mostly, I remember how much our community has already overcome- and I refuse to let this sentient glass of Tang pretending to be president be the reason I stop remembering. I refuse to let this idiot be my undoing. We’ve done a lot of figuring things out in the past, let’s remember how to do it again.