I’ve spoken to many trans people in the past few years – primarily those living in the United States and here. Though things are somewhat safer for us in these places than in many other countries, persecution still weighs heavily on us. I’ve had to comfort and reassure more people than I can count. Trans people, especially women, and of them especially trans women of colour, are disproportionately threatened with and suffer from transphobic violence, and the present and predicted rise in hate crimes has affected us already. TDOR exists to honour, celebrate and remember the trans people who have lost their lives in this way over the course of the year, as well as those who have taken their own lives in fear of intolerance, though we cannot know for sure how many have died in this way. We also look forward toward a future where we will not have to live in fear and consider the work to be done to bring that about, and show our gratitude for our own lives and the lives of our trans sisters, brothers and siblings.
It is impossible to ignore the fact that much of the violence committed against transgender people is done wrongly and unjustly in the name of God. There are other vigils being held in Newcastle, but I feel it is uniquely powerful just to know that one is being held in a church. That first TDOR vigil was the night that I knew for certain that I was safe and welcome here, and that my fears and struggles as a trans person would be listened to and acknowledged, and that I am truly and unambiguously loved by God. I hope that anyone looking for that acceptance will find it this Sunday.