Thursday, November 24, 2011

Transgender Day of Remembrance 2011

(four days to go)

Last year, I had a heckuva time finding the little Metropolitcan Community Church of Northern Virginia.  This year it was easier.  I parked a few doors down (it's in a row of connected commercial buildings) and walked around a bit.  When I saw a car that seemed to be cruising and looking for something I'd walk up, ask if they were looking for the church and point them in the right direction.  Last year, I was late because I was looking.  I wanted to help other (literally) lost souls.

I'll be skipping the clothing swap this weekend.  For the TDoR service, they requested canned goods or clothing for TransGender Health Empowerment (THE) in DC and I had a nice blouse and two really nice skirts (that, alas, didn't quite fit) put away for the swap ~ they came with me to the church instead.

Before the event, I spoke to the reverend I spoke to last year after the event ~ she remembered me; not surprisingly, I didn't remember her.

I sat at the end of a row with a seat between me and the woman to my left.  We didn't chat; our only interactions were a nod when I sat down and, for the final song, we all held hands.  While standing and singing and holding her hand, I felt a nudge from the other side and a man from the chorus was standing next to me, smiling, and holding out his hand.  A row came out of somewhere ~ I don't know if this was choreographed, but it seemed like everyone had two partners by the time the song ended.  The woman on my left squeezed my hand and we smiled at each other.

Afterwards, there were snacks and coffee and I didn't stick around.  I couldn't see myself socialising, although I did seek out a couple of choir members to tell them their singing was magnificent.  There was a woman from THE who made a rambling, emotional speech ~ she knew some women who were the victims of violence in DC ~ who I wanted to seek out after the service, but I didn't see her.  I wasn't sure what I was going to say to her.  Maybe I was just going to give her a hug and leave.

I sent an e-mail to the reverend after the service, which I'll echo here:


It was nice to see you again.  My prayer is always that next year, there will be no need for a service like this but when I saw there was an update
[in addition to the list of women murdered, there was an "additions" sheet], well, my heart sank again.

I planned to stay for snacks and coffee afterwards, but could not.  In many ways, it's easier for me to be out as Meg than it is to be around crowds, even crowds of people I have much in common with ~ potential friends.

I have a couple of questions: is there an agenda or topic for your Friday night trans session?  About how many people attend?
[They list a "T Peer Led Support Group" in their calendar, and the reverend mentioned it to me that evening but there are no details on the website]

The music was powerful, the choir was fantastic, and I had the same experience as last time.  Afterwards, I was energised.  I can't think of another word.  It's similar to how I feel when I return home after time out as Meg: I have a lot of energy, I feel like I can do anything.  It seems strange that I would feel like that after a remembrance service but...

I've been encouraging my readers to go to a service or ceremony every day this week.  One of my readers, got up in her church and mentioned TDoR.  My synagogue has an e-mail list, but I don't think I could show the same level of courage that she did.  I have given myself an action item: next August (so there's plenty of time) I will meet with my rabbi.  I will tell her about Meg and what the TDoR is (if she doesn't know) and ask that it be mentioned for the congregation.  Two years ago the synagogue had a booth at the gay pride events in DC.  I was out of town but if I was here I had planned to join them.  If they can sanction and put some gold behind reaching out to the gay community, I think they'd be open to the transgendered community.  I keep hoping we're the "next frontier" in the struggle for equality.  I keep hoping it's our turn.

Again, thank you for hosting this powerful service, and giving those we lost a voice one more time.

I do hope next year I learn TDoR has been cancelled due to lack of need.

I hope I never see the name of a friend (and that's every one of you) on the TDoR program.

I'll see if I can scan in parts of the program next week.

1 comment:

  1. I am impressed that Meg was able to not only go out, but also to interact with others in a public forum. Thank you, also, for sharing your letter!


My day is brighter when I hear from my friends!