The previous slowly trudged forth, as if caught in a marsh. October, and the months before as my transition slowly happened beneath my clothes, seemed like years unto themselves. It happened a few times in October, I'd have just shaved the tattered remains of my beard, and I'd go out as Sara, with a group of friends, and feel painfully self conscious as people stared at me.
I've become either brave or exceptionally foolish, as when after a week or so from the second laser treatment, more of my beard fell out in clumps, and a few days before that, my skin texture changed dramatically, and I purchased an article of woman's clothing, (a simple fitted "baby doll" t-shirt, rather than the lose baggy ones I have accumulated over the miserable years as a man,) and urging to wear it, I changed and felt comfortable in the rather bohemian, glbt friendly environment of the local coffee shop. Amassing my strength I wore my most feminine top on the bus and on the train to my volunteer work the next day. The stares and cruel glances are hard to get over, and I brought with me a cane, ordinarily for walking, which I could use to defend myself, though hopefully I will not have to. I should probably bring something more concealed, something about it is somewhat empowering. I should at least get one more personal, such as having colors of purple and black, maybe flowers if its not too frilly, not that I mind frilly stuff, but I'm tremendously picky about frills.
I do not pass. I do not know if I will ever have the luxury of passing. And so, the stares will continue, and although I'm trying to hold on to the warmth within, and remain a creature that has feelings, the more often I receive these stares, and dirty looks, the less I am bothered by them, and that comes at a high price. I feel my heart becoming cold, and I start to look at the cisgendered masses through a jaded, disgusted eye. I learn to appreciate more fully, those who smile back at me, and greet me with kindness, as wearing a friendly face on the outside, for the time being, is still not entirely difficult.
At this point anonymity is getting a little bit pointless. My name is Sara Ross, though I'm still working on getting the first name changed officially. My family is at least trying to accept me, so I will not change my last name. I do not want a masculine middle name, so I guess I'll change it from Marquez to Marquilla... the closest Hispanic feminine name I could find. I haven't told my family about the name change, and the middle name in particular, they do not know of at all.
So its here today. Day of Remembrance. Last year, I do not remember why I did not post. This year I had to combine it with a personal post, if nothing else because I needed to explain why it weighs so much more heavily on my mind. I'm suddenly a candidate for next years list, impassible, transsexual, maybe I'm being paranoid but I'm terrified for my life.
I'm still here...
I'm really lucky when I think about the fact that 1 in 12 transgendered folk, are murdered of hate crimes, or otherwise discriminated against in ways that cost their lives. For many of us transitioning is difficult, because of expensive doctors, or loads of processes to go through, or family situations, and so many of us simply resolve the matter with suicide. Having been in that place of despair, I know what it was like, and knowing that, cruel stares and watching over my shoulder, are by far a lesser sentence for whatever crime I must have committed, than the hopeless life I had as a boy.
Kellie Telesford, in Thornton Heath UK
Was strangled to death with a scarf on November 21'st 2007. That's the day after day of remembrance, last year. Her killer, said he discovered she had a penis. That seemed to be motivation enough for him.
Brian McGlothin in Cincinnati Ohio
Was Shot by an automatic rifle in the head, He was only 25 years old, two years older than me, the same age as my roommate's boyfriend. The note says he liked to wear women's clothes, heaven forbid. We'll never know whether it was simply his taste in clothes, or if it was something deeper. We'll never know anything because this person's life was cut short.
Gabriela Alejandra Albornoz, Santiago Chile.
in Santiago Chile, Was attacked and stabbed on December 28th 2007. Three days after Christmas. This is all the information given about the person.
Patrick Murphy 39, In Albuquerque New Mexico was found in women's clothes, shot several times in the head, on January 8th 2008. Again very little information was given about the person here.
Stacy Brown, in Baltimore, MD, Was was also found shot in the head on January 8th, the same day as Patrick Murphy, and was 30 years old.
Adolphus Simmons in Charleston, SC was shot to death at the age of 18, later in the month, on January 21st, 2008
Fedra, a known Transvestite in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia was found lying face up in a pool of blood, and we know nothing about the cause of death. The was the next day on January 22nd, 2008. As I go through the list it's difficult not to become desensitized to all of this, by I refuse to see these people as just names on a list.
Ashley Sweeney, Detroit Michigan, was shot in the head on the 4th of February. It says that her age is unknown, and that she is only identified as a transgender young woman, in this press release.
Sanesha (Talib) Stewart (name in parenthesis?, if its her middle name why put parenthesis, if its her guy name why include it?, well that's what the source says, I'll link it at the end of this list)
Sanesha Stewart was stabbed to death in the Bronx, in new york on February 10th, 2008. That's my grandma's birthday, which is a day after mine. She was 25 years old.
Lawrence King, age 15, in Oxnard California, the state where I live, was shot to death by a classmate because he liked to wear women's clothing. Do you think society will reach a place where this crime, is not punishable by death? Clothing is clothing, and the idea that we must confine ourselves to our "correct" gender, makes transitioning all the more difficult. If you're not one of my regular readers, and your the type that snubs a kid for wearing makeup or tight pants, or even going all the way, Could you, please stop yourself and think, why does this unsettle me, and who is really the one with the problem. The boy in girl's clothing has done nothing to you.
Simmie Williams Jr. in Fort Lauterdale Florida, was found shot to death wearing women's clothing, at age 17. On February 22nd, 2008.
Luna, who was not reported having any last name, in Lisbon Portugal was brutally beaten to death and tossed into a dumpster. The thought of this one makes me shudder, the symbolism of the dumpster, is that this person was no less than garbage to the perpetrator. When I was young my cousin put me in a garbage can and sat on the lid and he thought it was funny. I guess what I'm saying is that this cruelty is there inside all of us. Human beings are not garbage. I hope whoever did this didn't think it was funny... This happened march 15 2008. It hurts to know that one of my favorite artists in the music world is from this same city. Hopefully, not of the same mentality.
Lloyd Nixon, 45, in West Palm Beach, Florida, was repeatedly beat in the head with a brick. That says more than anything I can add. April 16 2008.
Felicia Melton-Smyth was brutally stabbed to death in Puerto Vallarta Mexico. Her murderer claimed his reasoning to be "that she would not pay for sex" She was a vacationing HIV activist from Wisconsin, where my roommate's boyfriend lives. May 26th, 2008, this is just before I moved out to my current location.
Silvana Berisha, Hamburg Germany, was stabbed to death. Judging from the picture and first name, this person was probably early in their transition, and will never get to experience the freedom I have barely tasted. This happened June 24th, 2008. I had just begun my hormone treatment a week prior.
Memphis Tennessee, was shot July 1st, 2008, at the age of 20.
Rosa Pazos, in Sevilla Spain, was found in her apartment, having been stabbed in the throat. One of my best online friends lives in Spain, though in a different area. This happened July 11 2008.
Juan Carlos Aucalle Coronel,
Lombardi Italy was severely beaten, found with several skull fractures, BEFORE being run over by a car. This was on July 14 2008. He was 35 years old. Probably a female to male given the name, though I've no further info at this time, it's fair enough to surmise that such atrocities do not only happen to male to female transsexuals, and cross dressers, etc.
Angie Zapata, in Greely, Colorado, Was found in her home, with fractures in her skull. She was murdered at the age of 18. It says her murderer was 31 years old, I will not bother with his name. July 17 2008.
On the same day of July 17 2008, in Makiki Honolulu, Hawaii Jaylynn L. Namauu, was stabbed to death. She was 35 years old. So much for paradise.
Samantha Rangel Brandau, in Milan Italy, again where one of my favorite bands is from, was gang raped, and stabbed numerous times. She was left for dead, and probably died alone, bleeding, and defiled by her attackers. I'm not sure what is worse, to die alone or in the presence of your murderer.
Nahkia (Nikki) Williams of Louisville, Kentucky was found shot, near the dumpster next to her home, on the 20th of August, this year. She was 29 years old.
Ruby Molina, in Sacramento, a major city here in Southern California, was drowned on September 21st, 2008. Her naked body was found floating in the American river, just 22 years old.
Aimee Wilcoxson, Aurora Colorado was found dead in her bed on November 3rd. The police have not specified the cause. I was receiving laser hair removal on that day, so I remember it well.
Duanna Johnson, Memphis Tennessee was shot, found dead in the middle of the street. 42 years old. I was at my parent's house on this day November 9th, 2008.
Dilek Ince, Ankara Turkey, was shot in the back of the head, on November 11th, 2008. With no knowledge or understanding of modern day turkey, or really of their culture at all, I've no idea what this person's struggle was like. I was returning home from mom's house that day.
Teish (moses) Cannon was shot at the age of 22 in Syracuse New York. November 14th 2008. Considering the number that have been added for this month, in comparison with the rest of the year, These probably only a tiny fragment of the hate crime victims for 2008. Indeed a number of these probably go unreported, unnoticed, forgotten by all but those who care to look.
Ali and two other women in Iraq, were executed for being transgender, this year, unknown month, day and time. I will post their names when I get the information, if I ever do.
This is the list where I got the information from. I did not copy paste, I went through every name, and read every location and date. The reason I added comments reflecting my own personal life, is to make each one more of a person. Comments about friends, family, even favorite bands, these were not intended to be cruel or uncaring, rather I wanted to make the point that it is a small world, and we all share in it. I hope you, the reader, please understand and excuse my strange style of reporting. Please inform me of any errors in the person's proper gender, as some of the original information was uncertain. I also regret missing any names not covered in this list.
Keith Olbermann will probably not be making one of his special comments tonight, as he did beautifully expressing his frustration at the passing of proposition 8, here in California. These names will not be read to you on the national news. They will not even, it seems, be read on KPFK here in California. These human beings do not deserve to be forgotten.
Kellie, Brian, Gabriela, Patrick, Stacy, Adolphus, Fedra, Ashley, Sanesha, Lawrence, Simmie, Luna, Lloyd, Ali and companions, Felicia, Silvana, Ebony, Rosa, Juan Carlos, Angie, Jaylynn, Samantha, Nikki, Ruby, Teish, Dilek, Duanna, Aimee, and all those who's names aren't listen here, Godspeed to wherever you are going. Please find yourselves a better place.
I am not Martin Luther King, I do not possess the sheer strength of will, the amazing, almost superhuman, self-sacrificing vitality, to speak out, at the cost of my own safety, much less my life. I am neither Nelson Mandela nor Malcom X. I am not a person of historic strength in times of cruelty.
After reading and typing up this list, I do not know, from where inside me I'll ever get the strength to dress up as a girl again. I do not know how I'll face the frozen desert of human emotions, that is, outside the safety of my home. But I guess I'm not stopping now, I'm not waiting for some magic point in my transition, I'm not gonna give up being myself because I do not have the right look, to pass for a "real" girl.
So pull your children away from this abomination that I am, if you must, though I would never bring harm to them. shake your head and roll your eyes, avoid me like a bearer of plagues. Call me names and do what you will to lessen the temperature of my heart. As a young transsexual woman, I beg you on my behalf and on the behalf of all my kind, let me keep my life, my dignity and my freedom. Let me walk the streets and keep to myself, when there is somewhere I need to be. If you are reading this and find me disgusting, immoral, degenerative, please, I am not here to create cesspools of sexual deviance, I am not here to do anything to you, that would compromise you, or your security. I just want to live my life, the way I feel is the only way true to my heart. I implore you to simply let me live, and I ask this on behalf of all transsexual and transgendered men and women.
There is so much more I want to say. For those of you with daughters and sons who are transgendered, for those in countries where we are seen as monsters like in Iraq... please just give us the freedom to be ourselves.