[A]nd when he had given thanks,
he broke [the bread] and said,
“This is my body, which is for you;
do this in remembrance of me.”
1 Corinthians 11:24 NIV
As I compile these reflections, transgender communities have been holding vigils against anti-transgender violence on November 20 for twenty years now. That is long enough to have noticed patterns—not only about who is most frequently being killed, but also about how the rest of us are reacting to those deaths.
There are no quick fixes to the many factors involved in transgender tragedy, from intimate partner violence to economic insecurity. From gender to race to religion, there are many forces conspiring against us. There is so much work to be done. We feel so human and powerless in the face of it all. The temptations are many from going numb to turning away, from giving in to despair to sacrificing ourselves for the cause. Spiritual traditions have always been a rich resource for facing such overwhelming odds.
Rabbi Tarfon used to say: “It is not your duty to finish the work, but neither are you free to neglect it” (Pirkei Avot 2:16).
In this series of devotionals, you will be invited to reflect on themes that are related to Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) in a variety of ways. Each chapter is relatively brief. Most open with a short scripture, include personal reflection questions, and close with a “You are loved” affirmation to help you ground yourself in strength.
My hope is that this volume will help you to organize yourself for the work that is yours to carry. My hope is that you will evaluate your own relationship, not only with TDOR as a “holiday,” but also with transgender communities more generally.
How will you hold vigil with loved ones on or around TDOR?
How are transgender people and communities woven into your life year-round?
How will you allow yourself to be changed by the pain that you witness around you?
How do you make yourself available to those who are most at risk?
The proceeds from this book will go to support the leadership of Black transgender women, because the legacy of anti-transgender violence in the United States falls squarely (though not exclusively) on their shoulders. I want to be on record in every way possible saying that my sisters are so much more than victims or statistics. They are brilliant and they are wise. They are dynamic and they are powerful. They are fighting for survival, and we need more of their leadership and strength to help guide us through this next millennia.
Supporting the Minister Bobbie Jean Baker Memorial Fund is just one way that I work to support their leadership. More information about awards from the fund as well as mechanisms for making contributions can be found at http://www.transfaith.info.
Mx Chris Paige
You can view the Table of Contents or learn more about In Remembrance of Me, Bearing Witness to Transgender Tragedy — my second OtherWise Reflection Guide!