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Just Happens to be LGBT: Transgender Day of Remembrance

Photo: Courtesy photo, License: N/A

Courtesy photo

Lauryn Farris



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Within the spectrum of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender population, there is no group in greater need of public support, sympathy, advocacy and—frankly—love than the trans community. It’s also the community that is most poorly understood and most overlooked by just about everybody.

Thankfully, in the process leading up to the vote for San Antonio’s non-discrimination ordinance, “gender identity” was always a part of the included language, not just “sexual orientation.” It’s disheartening that legal protections such as these should take as long as they have, or that they should be as contested as they were and are.

Sadly, dozens of transgender people across the world are brutally murdered or take their own lives each year, and they are remembered internationally on a special day of reflection. Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) is generally recognized as November 20 in the U.S.

According to transgenderdor.org, “the event is held in November to honor Rita Hester, whose murder [in Boston] on November 28th, 1998 kicked off the ‘Remembering Our Dead’ web project and a San Francisco candlelight vigil in 1999. Rita Hester’s murder—like most anti-transgender murder cases—has yet to be solved.” The website has also provided a fairly comprehensive list of those who have died each year, many of whom will be recognized across the world at other TDOR events.

Locally, the San Antonio Gender Association (SAGA) observes TDOR on the third Thursday of November, this year it will be held Thursday, November 21. The program begins at 6:30 p.m. and will be held at the Metropolitan Community Church at 611 E Myrtle.

Not coincidentally, MCC is the location where SAGA’s social and support group meets for its regular meetings on the first and third Thursday of each month. The organization has had a solid and consistent home at MCC since its founding in the early 2000s.

This year’s guest speaker is Carmarion Anderson, a Dallas-area transwoman and minister at Living Faith Covenant Church. She grew up in a strict Pentecostal environment and always felt a calling to do religious work. Even though her biological family and faith congregation rejected her when she came out at 16, she still felt the need to work towards the spiritual life she lives today.

Some people may find it interesting—especially given the recent brouhaha over the local NDO—that a religious organization caters to the trans community, but MCC is an international congregation that serves all persons. Some see it as “the gay church,” but Pastor Mick Hinson says it’s so much more than that. “We are extremely excited to host TDOR. It fits in with our mission to be welcoming to all people by educating others and improving our understanding of others. It’s really part of our ongoing movement of holistic inclusion.” Just one year after arriving in San Antonio, Hinson encouraged SAGA in 2008 to take the event from the church’s social hall up to its sanctuary to encourage wider participation by not just members of SAGA, but by others as well.

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