Shannon Garcia - "What Does the Transgender Day of Remembrance Mean to You?"

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 response is from Shannon Garcia.
Shannon Garcia

Shannon Garcia

Shannon Garcia is the President of TransYouth Family Allies, Inc., a business owner, and the mother of six children, including a beautiful 9 year old affirmed female daughter who transitioned at the age of 6.  She speaks at schools, social service agencies, health care facilities, universities and conferences nationwide educating and advocating on behalf of transgender and gender variant children and their families.
When I think of the Transgender Day of Remembrance, I have mixed emotions.  I feel sadness and sorrow over those who have lost their lives due to senseless hatred and violence.  I feel anger over not being able to help those who were taken before their time.  I also feel energized and a renewed sense of commitment. Each year at this time, I am reminded of why the work we all do in this community is so important.  None of us want even one more person to die senselessly simply because they are transgender or don't meet society's expectations for how they should dress, act or look. I am given a fresh sense of hope that we can and ARE indeed making a difference. We are making huge strides in educating students, educators, lawmakers, healthcare providers, work places and others all across the country on the myths and facts of what it means to be transgender.  People are learning tolerance and understanding every day that will hopefully save lives. I know as we move forward and make progress against oppression, bias and lack of education, Brandon Teena, Gwen Araujo, Lawrence King, Ian Benson and all of the other transgender angels in Heaven are smiling and spreading their wings.  That makes me smile.