November 20th is International Transgender Day of Remembrance.
As I prepare for Transgender Day of Remembrance this Saturday, I am energized and excited to see how the Jewish community in Los Angeles and elsewhere is marking this day.
If you are unfamiliar with the holiday, “Transgender Day of Remembrance was set aside to memorialize those who were killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice…The Transgender Day of Remembrance serves several purposes. It raises public awareness of hate crimes against transgender people, an action that current media doesn’t perform. Day of Remembrance publicly mourns and honors the lives of our brothers and sisters who might otherwise be forgotten. Through the vigil, we express love and respect for our people in the face of national indifference and hatred.” http://www.transgenderdor.org/
Here in Los Angeles we will have a special Friday night services on Friday, November 19th at Congregation Beth Chayim Chadashim (BCC) to celebrate and remember the lives of our lost trans sisters and brothers with song, prayer, and community. This will be preceded by a community dinner co-hosted by BCC and JQ International’s Trans Inclusion Committee, of which I am a member.
In addition to JQ’s work to honor Transgender Day of Remembrance in the Jewish tradition, Keshet is another organization leading the Jewish community in inclusion for LGBTQ Jews, including through honoring Transgender Day of Remembrance.
In her explanation of why Keshet is involved in this issue, Joanna Ware, Lead Organizer and Training Coordinator, Keshet said: “Every single death is one too many and should serve as a sharp reminder for each of us of the work we have still to do. For me, this day serves as a sobering reminder to respond with conviction, every time, to instances of gender policing and shaming. To speak out every time I hear “sissy” or “butch” hurled with distaste or vitriol, because each barbed word is part of the systems of violence in which trans and gender variant bodies are disposable. And it is a reminder to celebrate all of the beautiful, vibrant, fighting, and thriving trans and gender variant young people and adults in our lives and communities. Because it is only with that balance of hope and anger, a vision of justice to move toward and a clear knowledge of today’s stark reality, that our work for sustainable, far-reaching, enduring change can succeed.”
Taan Shapiro, Co-Chair of Keshet’s Transgender Working Group adds: “I am delivering a sermon at Temple Shir Tikvah on Friday, November 19, 2010, the day before Transgender Day of Remembrance. For me, as a trans Jew, Trans Day of Remembrance is not only a commemoration of all those who have passed due to transphobic hate crimes, but is also a reminder that transgender people need communities such as spiritual centers to survive and thrive.”
Keshet is a national, grassroots organization that works for the full inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) Jews in Jewish life. Led and supported by GLBT Jews and straight allies, Keshet offers resources, trainings, and technical assistance to create inclusive Jewish communities nationwide. Find out more at:
Information about Transgender Day of Remembrance Friday Night Services in Los Angeles:
Please join us for a special evening at Beth Chayim Chadashim on Friday, November 19th in honor of Transgender Day of Remembrance. The evening begins at 7pm with a vegetarian Mediterranean Shabbat dinner co-hosted by BCC and JQ International’s Trans Inclusion Committee. Space is limited so please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org. Dinner is $10 with RSVP or $20 at the door. Dinner is followed by BCC’s Ruach Chayim (Spirit of Life) music service led by Cantor Juval Porat and Kadin Henningsen, BCC’s first transgender Board Member.
Friday Nov 19th
Ruach Chayim Kabbalat Shabbat at 8pm
Beth Chayim Chadashim
6000 Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90035
To find out about other Transgender Day of Remembance Events in the United States and throughout the world, visit www.transgenderdor.org
Article written by Kalil Cohen. Visit Kalil online at www.kalilcohen.com