We had a similar graphic at the height of the AIDS Crisis, during which we lost many Trans Women, including my friends Jean and Melissa, two strong, fierce, brave, Black, Trans Women! One of the lesser known facts in AIDS/LGBTQIA History was that the loss of trans women went unrepresented during the height of the crisis. Why? Because during that time they were officially classified as “men who had sex with men!” Throughout LGBTQIA History trans people have been erased because they were called many euphemisms but never transgender. If they had advocates they were called transsexuals, usually with the prefix of either “pre-op” or “post-op.” Non-binary gender identities were completely erased and lumped under “gender non-conforming;” a slight that continues to this day in some organizations. That is why the modern trans movement is so important. Finally trans men, women and non-binary individuals can live as their authentic selves and be accepted and recognized or at least demand recognition and tolerance.
The truth is Trans People have had their lives cut short for far too long. If it wasn’t passing due to “complications associated with AIDS,” it was suicide, or the slow death of addiction and self harm, or assult and murder. These were people that had spouses, siblings, parents, children, and friends. They were special people whose identity and memory was frequently erased from history; but NO MORE! We take time each November to remember them, to mourn their passing while celebrating the lives they led. We also vow to FIGHT LIKE HELL FOR THE LIVING!
Thanks to the original graphic post that inspired my rant: