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  • Writer's pictureDavid Carlson

979: it is vitally important that those we lose are remembered, and that we continue

Day 979: Sunday, November 20, 2022

it is vitally important that those we lose are remembered, and that we continue to fight for justice."

A lot of people have it in their head that we wake up and decide to be trans. I want people to know that it’s not a choice. Nothing has happened in my life to make me trans. I was born trans.

I told my mum when I was about 13. She was shocked and didn’t really understand. Then six months later she told my dad and he was so angry. I love my dad but he was a very traditional person. There was a lot of tension. I couldn’t wear men’s clothing, or I couldn’t wear men’s deodorant – it would cause an argument.

It started to get better, but then Dad got cancer. He died a week before I turned 16. When he got sick we didn’t talk about it any more. I thought that once he had recovered we’d go back to talking about it, but he didn’t recover.

After my dad died I found a book about transgender young people and I gave it to my mum. She read it and it was a complete change. She says her main thing and also my dad’s main thing is they were worried about how it will affect me in life – will I be able to find a job, will I be able to find a partner. Well, those things have happened: I’ve found a partner, I have no trouble finding jobs.

My mum is fantastic, she’s really proud of me. She comes to Transgender Pride with me, if anybody says anything bad about me being trans she’s ready to hammer them. She makes me the envy of many trans people, I think.

- By Keith Reynolds, 18

Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) is an annual observance on November 20 that honors the memory of the transgender people whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence.

What is Transgender Day of Remembrance?

Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) was started in 1999 by transgender advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith as a vigil to honor the memory of Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was killed in 1998. The vigil commemorated all the transgender people lost to violence since Rita Hester's death, and began an important tradition that has become the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance.

"Transgender Day of Remembrance seeks to highlight the losses we face due to anti-transgender bigotry and violence. I am no stranger to the need to fight for our rights, and the right to simply exist is first and foremost. With so many seeking to erase transgender people -- sometimes in the most brutal ways possible -- it is vitally important that those we lose are remembered, and that we continue to fight for justice."

- Transgender Day of Remembrance founder Gwendolyn Ann Smith

On Transgender Day of Remembrance, we remembers the transgender people whose lives have been lost to anti-transgender violence this year and over the years.

More information:

Learn more about transgender people on GLAAD's resource page:



The jellyfish

float in the bay shallows

like schools of clouds,

a dozen identical — is it right

to call them creatures,

these elaborate sacks

of nothing? All they seem

is shape, and shifting,

and though a whole troop

of undulant cousins

go about their business

within a single wave's span,

every one does something unlike:

this one a balloon

open on both ends

but swollen to its full expanse,

this one a breathing heart,

this a pulsing flower.

this a troubled parasol.

This submarine opera's

all subterfuge and disguise,

its plot a fabulous tangle

of hiding and recognition:

nothing but trope,

nothing but something

forming itself into figures

then refiguring,

sheer ectoplasm

recognizable only as the stuff

of metaphor. What can words do

but link what we know

to what we don't,

and so form a shape?

Which shrinks or swells,

configures or collapses, blooms

even as it is described

into some unlikely

marine chiffon:

a gown for Isadora?

Nothing but style.

What binds

one shape to another

also sets them apart

— but what's lovelier

than the shapeshifting

transparence of like and as:

clear, undulant words?

We look at alien grace,


by any determined form,

and we say: balloon, flower,

Hear how the mouth,

so full

of longing for the world,

changes its shape?

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