Today we memorialize and celebrate the lives of those transgender and gender-nonconforming persons who were murdered this past year simply because of their gender identities. We also honor the lives of trans people who ended their own lives because they just could not bear to go on in the face of the emotional and/or physical violence brought about by transphobia.
Being transgender isn't what is killing us. It is the culture we live in. It is a culture that teaches people that we aren't real men or women, one that reduces us to jokes intended to inspire visceral reactions of disgust. It is a culture that teaches people that such portrayals are not just acceptable but entirely justified. It is embedded in our culture that we have no value.
For the first time ever, there is a database where people can see exactly what is happening to transgender people globally in terms of violent acts against them. The TVTP was launched earlier this year in the hope of accumulating as much data as possible in order to serve as a true resource and, ultimately, to put a stop to such acts.
In Isaiah, God calls us not to live in fear. At first blush this may seem to be a callous or trivial response to what is in fact a horrifying reality. But the prophet who wrote these words and the community that heard them were living through the floods and fires of their own terrifying circumstances.