GLAAD joins transgender communities and allies around the world today in both honoring the memory of those who are no longer with us and re-committing ourselves to working in their name.
The following poem was written by Bet Power for the Transgender Day of Remembrance held in Amherst, MA, November 20, 2007. It is also available at TransOralHistory.com, a cutting-edge outlet for grassroots trans resources.
Every November I am devastated.
I count my people pulled up by the roots
From the gardens of their lives,
Not like harvest in the fullness of fruition
But even in a world of abundance
Torn as if worthless weeds yanked young and helpless.
Slashed, broken, trampled, tossed on a pile, debris.
More blows than necessary to kill,
Killed many times over
So their wildness will not return
And their wisdom will not spread,
Invasive to the status quo, the way things are.
Should I be thankful this month that those of us who survive
Come together perennially,
Not to nourish ourselves at a Thanksgiving table of life’s bounty
But to sit shiva funereal,
Eyes welling tears, wailing the names of so many
I sit again in solemn ceremony,
My mind wanders, seeking a way out,
Escapes into a hungry vision of people
In procession carrying our autumn’s best.
We bend to pick up all that have grown before,
Lift acorn squash, sweet pumpkins,
Raise rutabaga high,
Remember heirloom tomatoes,
Carry corn stalks and chrysanthemums:
Varieties diverse and complicated.
In their ripeness self-fulfilled.
There is an opening in the distance, both exit and entryway.
Reality returns to me:
We are angry and hopeful holding our dead like taproots
As we march towards its light.
Above two columns of unshakeable granite
We read an inscription the marble arch reveals.
Etched in blood its keystone shows one word to us now.
TDOR, both ending and beginning,
It is our door to new freedom
And the word is “Pride.”
© Bet Power, November 2007.
Bet Power is the Director and Curator of the Sexual Minorities Archives, a national collection of LGBTI literature, history, and art since 1974, located in Northampton, MA. He is the founder of the East Coast FTM Group (ECFTMG), monthly peer support for the full spectrum of masculine persons in the transgender community. Power is also a founding organizer of the New England Trans United Pride March & Rally.
Bet Power believes that the antidote to anti-trans violence and murder is Transgender Pride.