Transgender Day of Remembrance
November 20 has become known as Trans Day of Remembrance. In 1999, advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith hosted a vigil to commemorate her dear friend Rita Hester whose life was ended brutally and unremorsefully. In 2023 alone, there have been at least 25 trans and gender non-conforming lives ended due to violence. Trans Day of Remembrance is an opportunity to remember and mourn these lives that were taken. Vigils are common practices where candles are lit and the names of those whose lives have been taken are read, honored and uplifted. It is hard to say the gravity of the loss is known until you sit in one of these services and connect to a community who is grieving but who have not given up hope.
I encourage you to try to attend a Vigil – here are some possibilities:
Today is not only a day for remembrance, though, but also a day of Resilience and Resistance.
Transgender Day of Resilience
If you are a trans or gender non-conforming person, know you have worth. Know that while forces in the U.S. are trying to deny and remove your rights, you are not left helpless. A beauty of the queer community is their ability to wrap you in love and help hold your pain. You are not alone and the fight for rights is not over. Today may be difficult for you as you are reminded of the violence against you and people like you. Today might be best spent doing something you love such as a hobby or something creative or even active. But today might also be a pause, where you do sit in the grief and mourning in the hopes of inspiration for what might come next for you.
Transgender Day of Resistance
There is nothing queerer than resistance — to look those who wish you harm, in the face and say, “No.” Whether you are trans, gender non-conforming, gay, lesbian, bi, pan or a cisgender heterosexual ally, I urge you to let this be a day of resistance. Speak up when you see or hear violence around you. The beauty of resistance is that violence is not met with retreat but is transformed. While there are many things you can do to be supportive of the queer community, one of the biggest things you might be able to do is write your state legislators a letter.
You may find a list of your congressional representatives here. Look them up and find their contact information. Across 49 states, there are 586 anti-trans bills being worked through by legislators. Take time to get familiar with them. Learn who is being most affected by these bills and what states trans folks are facing the most discrimination in. You can find some of this information in the Trans Legislation Tracker. Then, be an advocate. Write letters to your congressional representatives, write about this legislation on your social media, and connect to other communities who are actively doing this work.
This month, Looking Glass Counseling is proud to support Eastern Woodlands Rematriation. Eastern Woodlands Rematriation (EWR) is boldly reclaiming the right to food and relationship to the earth for indigenous peoples. EWR initiates and helps sustain existing community-led food and medicine projects across tribal communities in the Northeast.
Jon Wisdom is a student at Boston University in a dual-degree program. He is working toward a Master of Divinity as well as clinical Social Work specializing in Trauma and Violence. Previously he worked as an interfaith hospital chaplain and holds a masters degree in Spiritual Care. Jon has pursued this integrated learning with the hope of working with queer individuals with religious trauma. As a queer man, he knows this is a complex issue that requires a lot of existential exploration which can be personally challenging.
In practice, Jon prioritizes affirming and patient-centered care. He uses modalities such as Phase Oriented Trauma Treatment, Motivational Interviewing (MI), Solution Focused Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), narrative approaches, psychodynamics and operates with an anti-oppression framework. His goal as a therapist is to provide space for his clients to come as they are and for them to know that they have inherent worth and value.
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