Autumn Sandeen - "What Does the Transgender Day of Remembrance mean to you?"

Autumn Sandeen

Autumn Sandeen

The Transgender Day of Remembrance will be observed this Thursday, Nov 20. To commemorate the day, GLAAD will be blogging about issues relevant to the Day of Remembrance throughout the week.

We asked transgender people and allies to respond to the question "What does the Transgender Day of Remembrance mean to you?"  This first response is from Autumn Sandeen who chose to respond through a poem.

Autumn Sandeen is a transgender activist who serves on the steering committee of the Transgender Advocacy And Services Center (TASC) of San Diego, is a member of the Transgender Equality Alliance (TEA) of California, and has been a contributing author for Ex-Gay Watch. Autumn is also a blogger on Pam's House Blend and the blogmistress for The View from (Ab)normal Heights.

Previously, Autumn served in the U.S. Navy and has documented her Don't Ask Don't Tell story on numerous websites. After retiring from the U.S. Navy, she was awarded a Veteran's Administration Disability rating and served as secretary of the Transgender American Veteran's Association (TAVA).

This poem was written when Autumn was gathering the names of murdered transgender people for the Remembering Our Dead Project in 2005.

found dead in a garbage bin

I found another name.

Twenty-five names had made the list this past year,
now it's going to be twenty-six.
Gwen wrote 'I'll adjust materials shortly.'

This one was found dead in a garbage bin in a back alley.
Found by a cleaner about 7.30 in the morning,
the cleaner saw a pair of legs jutting out of the garbage bin...
She initially thought a mannequin had been dumped into the garbage bin.

The victim was wrapped in a blanket,
clad in a dark T-shirt,
white shorts,
and a padded bra.
There was a single slash wound on the neck ,
and there were several bruises on the body.

Police didn't find any identification.
The complexion indicated the victim may be Chinese or an East Malaysian.

Did I mention that the newspaper where I read the story
called the victim a 'transvestite?'

That the victim was dressed in female clothing
-- and had a penis --
I know to many that makes the victim's life less valuable.
Perhaps we'd be wasting resources if we tried to find the killer.

After all, she was found in a garbage bin.

It's just,
well,
she's the twenty-sixth person added to the list
of transgender people...
people who've died due to transgender hate violence
since November, 2004.

Twenty-five people had made the list this past year,
now it's going to be twenty-six.
One name on the list is that of a three year-old
whose dad killed him
because he thought he was acting like a sissy.
Gwen just keeps adjusting the materials to reflect the killings.

I found another anti-transgender hate killing in an online newspaper last night.
I've found six of the names on this year's list...

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