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Multi-Disciplinary Artist AJ has a message for allies this TDoR

This period is hard.

Life is continually made hard for trans people,
but,
this period is especially difficult and trying.

Over the past year or so, I have made a conscious effort to try and not write from a place of pain.
When you’re hurting,
and you’re suffering,
and you’ve been hurting
and suffering for,
well,
your whole life, it can be hard to see anything else.

On top of that, when you’ve had to remain silent about your pain,
and your hurt,
and your suffering,
when you finally have the chance to speak out, it can feel so very relieving
and powerful – expressing how you feel,
how you’ve felt,
what you’ve lost.

Over the past year or so,
I’ve tried my best not to speak from a place of raw gritty suffering.
I shifted my attention to joy,
and love,
self-love, and healing,
and it’s been beautiful.
It is beautiful.

However,
something that I have acutely realised this month, and during this week of Trans Awareness and remembrance,
is that joy, and love, and even healing doesn’t subtract from the weight of the pain and hurt and suffering that I’ve experienced.
How could they,
when the pain that we as trans people experience and are subjected to is so immense?

This TDoR period is hard.

It marks death.
It marks grief.
It marks loss.

Some of us are grieving for people we’ve intimately known and lost.
Some of us are grieving our own lives, past, present, and future.
It is not lost on a single one of us that this candle you’re lighting,
well…

I want to ask you, ally, a direct question:

Why are you reading this?
Why are you attending TDoR events and engaging with TDoR spaces?

To me, TDoR is a family event. We honour our siblings and our ancestors and share in a profound collective grief.

So, what are you doing here?

What have you tried to do to stop this day from having to exist?
To stop the number of names read out from increasing every year?

How are you supporting trans people on an interpersonal level, as well as collectively?
How are you supporting us before we’re struggling to support ourselves?
What are you doing to ensure that we feel safe enough to call you chosen family,
and to bring you into this,
our sacred space?

Even though TDoR is one day,
and there’s a week where allies ostensibly want to stay abreast of our hardship,
this is our lives.
This is our every single day.
You should already know this.

Now do something about it.

If you find Trans Day of Remembrance difficult and need someone to talk to, our helpline number is 0808 801 0400. A team of trained staff are available Monday to Friday, 9am to 9pm. You can also contact the Samaritans 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 116 123.