The Bible Tells Me So: Transsexualism Is Not A Sin
November 5, 2009
Speaking Out: Transgender Detainee Faces Twice the Abuse
November 17, 2009

Exploiting The Transgender Dead: The Irresistible Temptation Part II

Each year as another Transgender Day of Remembrance comes near, it seems as if another group or organization tries to remake the TDOR in their own image

tdor2

Each year as another Transgender Day of Remembrance comes near, it seems as if another group or organization tries to remake the TDOR in their own image (examples: 2007, 2008).  Recently Katherine V London commented on the post The Irresistible Temptation:Exploiting Our Dead:

Hello.

I understand this is a year old article. However, I came across this as a link from another article. Anyway.

I am a member of the Orlando Youth Alliance (OYA). As well I am a 17 year old transgender person. I attended the Trans Day of Remembrance last year. We raised money but that was not our sole reason of being there. I actually attended independently to go there, and many friends of mine were helping to raise money. I had also helped the group to do fund raisers. We have used the money for good purposes.

I thought I should clear this up, considering you make us sound like loan sharks, and money beggars, but justify it by pointing at the terminology on the website.

As well, yes it is true that many, “LGBTQ” organizations and groups seem to talk about homosexual issues and say LGBTQ, simply to sound inclusive. If you found it incorrect, then perhaps you should have respectably sent the head facilitator of OYA an E-mail and told him politely that the terminology offends you, and give him ideas for a more respectable and inclusive statement.

Now HRC, they threw us under the bus, so while they say they are doing things to help the Transgender community, that is fine, but I do not completely trust the organization.

As I mentioned in the previous post, the intention behind the TDOR is best summed up by its founder, Gwen Smith:

“The Transgender Day of Remembrance serves several purposes. It raises public awareness of hate crimes against transgendered 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. Day of Remembrance reminds non-transgender people that we are their sons, daughters, parents, friends and lovers. Day of Remembrance gives our allies a chance to step forward with us and stand in vigil, memorializing those of us who’ve died by anti-transgender violence.”

Having a “good purpose” for raising money isn’t enough of a reason for doing so. Would you have a fundraiser at:

  • a loved one’s funeral?
  • at a Holocaust memorial?
  • at Fort Hood where people were recently gunned down?
  • at 9-11’s ground zero?

Ethan St. Pierre,  nephew of  hate crime victim Deborah Forte and webmaster for TransgenderDOR , said it this way:

How would you feel about a couple of people from the local high school attending your grandmother’s wake wielding a coffee can to raise money for their baseball team?

In a 2007 he wrote “An Open Letter to the Transgender Community” he said:

The attempted manipulations and attempts to capitalize on the Transgender Day of Remembrance by some of our national organizations and so called leaders is nothing less than appalling and downright sickening.

The Transgender Day of Remembrance is not a place to put on your party hat, it is not a celebration of life, nor is it an opportunity for your organization to fund-raise, it should not be an event where the keynote speaker gets paid a lot of money to come and sell the latest autobiography and should not be a political event where people schmooze with their donors from a past political campaign and it most certainly should not be sponsored nor cosponsored by The Human Right’s Campaign, an organization who can’t even support us in a Federal Hate crimes bill!

This hits close to home for me. The TDOR event here in Madison, Wisconsin:

Trans Monologues and Vigil (Co-sponsored by Ten Percent Society)
Friday, Nov 20, 6 pm, A Room of One’s Own, 307 W Johnson St
The Trans Monologues are a night of theater, poems, songs, monologues, and all other creative expressions of transgender identities. Join the LGBT Campus Center and Ten Percent Society for a powerful evening of performance. Following the Monologues, we will be holding a vigil to remember and honor members of the community who have lost their lives. (Ryka Aoki de la Cruz will be speaking at the monologues and the vigil.)

The Transgender Week of Remembrance is a great idea. Many of the offerings through the week offer an interesting look into the lives of transgender people.  But November 20th is the Transgender Day of Remembrance and mourning our dead should be enough.  It should be enough to mourn the loss of Wisconsinite, Felicia Melton-Smyth

and the hundreds of other transgender people that have fallen due to anti-transgender violence.

  • Pingback: DEAR STONEWALL, PLEASE STOP EXPLOITING OUR DEAD! | The Transadvocate()

  • Emelye Waldherr

    I love the idea of a transgender awareness week before the DOR. Any funds required for the day itself can then be collected beforehand. I think the TDOR must absolutely be reserved for solemn reflection and resolute conviction that our community will continue to fight against the causes of violence that plagues us.

    Let’s pick a day before the TDOR as a day of Transgiving, a formal opportunity for supporters and able members of the community to contribute to our needs.

  • I love the idea of a transgender awareness week before the DOR. Any funds required for the day itself can then be collected beforehand. I think the TDOR must absolutely be reserved for solemn reflection and resolute conviction that our community will continue to fight against the causes of violence that plagues us.

    Let’s pick a day before the TDOR as a day of Transgiving, a formal opportunity for supporters and able members of the community to contribute to our needs.

  • NancyN

    I wasn’t trying to be insulting or offensive, but obviously my writing must have come across that way. I’m sorry for that!

  • NancyN

    I wasn’t trying to be insulting or offensive, but obviously my writing must have come across that way. I’m sorry for that!

  • NancyN

    Ethan, that’s pretty harsh, especially considering that two years ago we took up a collection at DOR to buy memorial stones in Boston’s Garden of Peace, including one for your aunt. Before that we took up collections to pay for the church. That doesn’t mean it’s the best thing to do, but nobody objected previously, so maybe you can see why the committee might have decided as they did and cut us a little slack.

    • Nancy,
      I was under the impression that MTPC donated that money to have my aunt’s stone placed there or else I would NEVER have been a part of that and in fact would have never had her stone placed there under those circumstances.
      PERIOD!

      Honestly Nancy, you can kiss my ass.

  • NancyN

    Ethan, that’s pretty harsh, especially considering that two years ago we took up a collection at DOR to buy memorial stones in Boston’s Garden of Peace, including one for your aunt. Before that we took up collections to pay for the church. That doesn’t mean it’s the best thing to do, but nobody objected previously, so maybe you can see why the committee might have decided as they did and cut us a little slack.

    • Nancy,
      I was under the impression that MTPC donated that money to have my aunt’s stone placed there or else I would NEVER have been a part of that and in fact would have never had her stone placed there under those circumstances.
      PERIOD!

      Honestly Nancy, you can kiss my ass.

  • Nancy, we have all year to donate money to whatever fund raising efforts are needed. I will not and do not condone raising money at a TDoR event.
    I can not take part in this. If people want to do something out of the “kindness of their hearts” then they don’t need a logo to stamp on TDoR.
    Good luck with that.

    Peace,
    Ethan

  • Nancy, we have all year to donate money to whatever fund raising efforts are needed. I will not and do not condone raising money at a TDoR event.
    I can not take part in this. If people want to do something out of the “kindness of their hearts” then they don’t need a logo to stamp on TDoR.
    Good luck with that.

    Peace,
    Ethan

  • Good post. We must be on the same wavelength. I spoke at a DOR in Chicago last night, touching on the same subject and how other big-name, money-attentive orgs love glombing onto this for its automatic free press & PR and its potential for raising their visibility and their fundraising. And I guess they expect us not to fight them back on this.

    It’s amazing how selfish some of these opportunists are. How often would you ever see their leaders returning the same favor to ours who worked through the years to build this up and put it on the map and in the public consciousness? Never!

  • Good post. We must be on the same wavelength. I spoke at a DOR in Chicago last night, touching on the same subject and how other big-name, money-attentive orgs love glombing onto this for its automatic free press & PR and its potential for raising their visibility and their fundraising. And I guess they expect us not to fight them back on this.

    It’s amazing how selfish some of these opportunists are. How often would you ever see their leaders returning the same favor to ours who worked through the years to build this up and put it on the map and in the public consciousness? Never!

  • Thanks Lisa!

  • Thanks Lisa!

  • NancyN

    I agree completely with the sentiments. But it does cost money to hold any event indoors (we also provide refreshments at a reception after), and sponsors cover the costs incurred. Here in Boston, we try to avoid all self-promotion by groups, but this year, for the first time, we’re going to collect money for the Transgender Emergency Fund, which provides assistance to trans persons most at risk. We figure this helps keep people from becoming victims, and further fulfills the intent of this day. We also raised money to pay for ASL interpretation for the event, so that deaf folks could also participate fully. In return for their donations, sponsors get thanked publicly; this seems only fair.
    -Nancy Nangeroni
    Boston Transgender Day of Remembrance Organizing Committee

  • Lisa C. Gilinger

    When I decided to partner with the local LBGT resource provider here in Santa Barbara to get greater participation from the lgbtqia community I was clear that it is important to hold a Day of remembrance. But is is equally important how you hold and the tone you set for it.. We agreed that it is one day, one evening where we stop and take a moment to honor thos that shared this experience and this planet with us until their lives were stopped by violence at the hands of others or by their own hand.. One moment to honor, to connect, to remember the spirit of those lost and to recognize that it is not safe for us, not yet.

    Equally important is what it is not. It is not a fund raiser. It is not a T party. I heard that one org. was, and may still be planning an event around that theme. It is not a media event. Some of our community still lives in abject fear of being identified, having their faces splashed across the TV screens or newspapers. It is not a social event though some social aspects could be appropriate if they were not allowed to overwhelm the solemnity of the remembrance. It is not an opportunity to preach to the faithful or the fallen. It is not a moment to get everyone politically behind the issues although we do underscore the issue that unites us that evening. It is not a moment to rejoice in the beauty of being anything, or indulging in the pleasures of the living.

    As I told a friend; if being T in any of its forms, and of its variations, were a religion this would be a high holiday day demanding and deserving complete respect and a sense of solemn spirituality.

    I have to acknowledge the contribution of Pacific Pride Foundation, our local alphabet (lgbtqiaxyzq, oh wait, I already said Q) service providers. Director David Selberg has been a true ally and has helped with the planning and ran interference with the press for us. Jess Tucker Riley did a beautiful flyer, and the Rev. Linda Spencer will be attending and leading us in respectful recognition of the spiritual sensibilities of this gathering – Transgender Day of Remembrance.

    I don’t demand that everyone be all maudlin and dress in black robes with hoods and chant , no. But it is only one day, one evening, surely for the lives lost we can hold a moment in solidarity, in spirit with the rest of the world to mourn, mark their passing, and remember. In so many cases no one else will.

  • NancyN

    I agree completely with the sentiments. But it does cost money to hold any event indoors (we also provide refreshments at a reception after), and sponsors cover the costs incurred. Here in Boston, we try to avoid all self-promotion by groups, but this year, for the first time, we’re going to collect money for the Transgender Emergency Fund, which provides assistance to trans persons most at risk. We figure this helps keep people from becoming victims, and further fulfills the intent of this day. We also raised money to pay for ASL interpretation for the event, so that deaf folks could also participate fully. In return for their donations, sponsors get thanked publicly; this seems only fair.
    -Nancy Nangeroni
    Boston Transgender Day of Remembrance Organizing Committee

  • Lisa C. Gilinger

    When I decided to partner with the local LBGT resource provider here in Santa Barbara to get greater participation from the lgbtqia community I was clear that it is important to hold a Day of remembrance. But is is equally important how you hold and the tone you set for it.. We agreed that it is one day, one evening where we stop and take a moment to honor thos that shared this experience and this planet with us until their lives were stopped by violence at the hands of others or by their own hand.. One moment to honor, to connect, to remember the spirit of those lost and to recognize that it is not safe for us, not yet.

    Equally important is what it is not. It is not a fund raiser. It is not a T party. I heard that one org. was, and may still be planning an event around that theme. It is not a media event. Some of our community still lives in abject fear of being identified, having their faces splashed across the TV screens or newspapers. It is not a social event though some social aspects could be appropriate if they were not allowed to overwhelm the solemnity of the remembrance. It is not an opportunity to preach to the faithful or the fallen. It is not a moment to get everyone politically behind the issues although we do underscore the issue that unites us that evening. It is not a moment to rejoice in the beauty of being anything, or indulging in the pleasures of the living.

    As I told a friend; if being T in any of its forms, and of its variations, were a religion this would be a high holiday day demanding and deserving complete respect and a sense of solemn spirituality.

    I have to acknowledge the contribution of Pacific Pride Foundation, our local alphabet (lgbtqiaxyzq, oh wait, I already said Q) service providers. Director David Selberg has been a true ally and has helped with the planning and ran interference with the press for us. Jess Tucker Riley did a beautiful flyer, and the Rev. Linda Spencer will be attending and leading us in respectful recognition of the spiritual sensibilities of this gathering – Transgender Day of Remembrance.

    I don’t demand that everyone be all maudlin and dress in black robes with hoods and chant , no. But it is only one day, one evening, surely for the lives lost we can hold a moment in solidarity, in spirit with the rest of the world to mourn, mark their passing, and remember. In so many cases no one else will.

  • Looks like hrc just can’t help themselves when it comes to branding tdor events. Here’s a clue, a candlelight vigil shouldn’t require a “sponsor.”
    http://lasvegas.hrc.org/node/331

  • Looks like hrc just can’t help themselves when it comes to branding tdor events. Here’s a clue, a candlelight vigil shouldn’t require a “sponsor.”
    http://lasvegas.hrc.org/node/331