Strength, Community & Transgender Day of Remembrance by Max

Posted on 20-11-2022 by Riley Daniels

My name is Max, I’m a Sexual Health Outreach Worker for Birmingham LGBT, and I’m a trans man. I haven’t always felt proud of – or wanted to accept – my trans identity and if I’m honest, I still struggle sometimes.

Trans Day of Remembrance is an important day to acknowledge – as is Trans Awareness Week which precedes it, and Trans Day of Visibility. Started as a vigil in 1999 in memory of Rita Hester, it has evolved into a movement for us to honour and mourn those we have lost to acts of anti-trans bigotry and violence, in a world where it is often still unsafe to be out as trans. Of the 327 trans and gender diverse lives lost between 2021 and 2022, the vast majority are trans women of colour aged between 31 and 40 – highlighting the intersection between racism, misogyny and transphobia. These figures only represent what’s been reported, and there is speculation that there are far more unreported deaths, including those who did not have the opportunity to be laid to rest as their true selves.

From my own experience, coming out as trans can be a difficult process – working through shame, grief, internalised transphobia, a healthcare system with a years-long wait for trans treatment and potentially fraught reactions from friends and family. We often focus on the trials transgender people face, but there is a lot to be said for trans joy as well.

There is strength in community, and the support of others weathering the same storms helps me to not feel so alone. I feel euphoria in a way I never believed possible – feeling connected to my body in a way that feels like I’m coming home to myself. We forge our own paths, and there is resilience in our experiences and our numbers.

We are not going anywhere, and we are valid.