Today, members of the University of Surrey gathered around the statue of Alan Turing for a Vigil on Trans Day of Remembrance. TDoR has been observed on 20th November since it was founded by transgender activists Gwendolyn Ann Smith in repose to the murder of Rita Hestler, a transgender woman whose case has not been solved. This day has evolved in to remembrance events across the world - which honour those people who've died as a result of transphoboic violence. Members of the Chaplaincy Team were invited to speak. This is my text - and I am deeply indebted to the poetry of Rachel Mann with which I ended my meditation.
One day. One day, there will be no names on the annual list.
This day, we stand in solidarity with those those harmed by heteronormative and patriarchal prejudice. We come together to honour those we’ve lost; those who’ve died by suicide or the violence of others because of their gender identity.
One day, there will be a better and more enlightened world for us all.
Today we remember the cost of the struggle. Although our society has grown in understanding and acceptance of trans people, headlines, columns and trans-negative language reveals we’ve got a long way to go.
One day, everyone will be free to be themselves: loved and to love as they are.
This day, we acknowledge the harm caused by prejudice and ignorance; the trauma caused when negative messages are internalised. We renew our commitment to listening, learning and understanding what it means to be transgender.
One day, trans bodies will not be erased or controlled; their dignity, creativity, beauty, ordinariness, vulnerability and strength will be upheld.
Today, we seek to be a visible network of support and friendship; to be hopeful companions on journeys towards self-acceptance; to be advocates for people with dreams and purpose, conviction.
One day, we will sing songs of joy which celebrate the richness and diversity of human experience.
This day, for the love of God, let trans people flourish. We seek forgiveness for past failures of individually, institutionally and relationally. As people of faith, belief and good will we can change the world; discovering it to be more full of light and love than we thought.
One day, the body of Jesus Christ was cradled in the his mother’s arms; one day that body embraced the marginalised and rejected; one day that body was anointed with oil, and washed the feet of others; one day that body was betrayed, rejected, humiliated, bruised, beaten and buried.
Today, in my remembrance, I recall that that body given in death is also a hopeful body; a body of new life and light. That body reminds me that we are loved, in our tender and fragile bodies.
One day we will sing a glorious song of love. I end with a poem by Rachel Mann whose Twitter biog reads “Priest, Canon, Dr, Trans, Journo, Broadcaster and Author”:
Body of Christ
Find me when the journey ends and sun
bleeds into night; and I shall conjure spelt's
wild thunder, make bread crack and roar,
tear stories with my hands, let grain shatter and fall.
And we shall eat in the dark, mute in wonder,
understanding or not; will walk softly in fields
as if we still breathed, as if we knew company
of the dead, our dreams tremble in the dawn.
And we shall speak as if our mouths
are no longer our own; I going on ahead,
if that is what you need, learning secret tongues,
searching melodies and chords for glorious song.
These words are reproduced from Rachel's blog and formed part of a series of Good Friday addresses delivered in Derby Cathedral entitled: The Precarious Body on the Cross of Love. The full series can be found here .
© Julie Gittoes 2018