52 Trans Stories from Western Pennsylvania Honor the Lost Voices on this #TDOR

November 20 is the Trans Day of Remembrance.  If you read our blog regularly, you know that we try very hard to honor the lives and acknowledge the deaths of our trans neighbors who have been lost to violence. We encourage you to participate in local TDOR events.

This is the list of neighbors lost in the United States since the 2016 TDOR. You can find a detailed list of all individuals around the world here.

 

 

Since 2013, we have been trying to publish or promote a post dedicated to the life and death of each lost sibling. You can find our posts chronologically grouped by year at these links.

I shared some of my personal reflections on how I learned about the need acknowledge the deaths of our trans siblings in an essay on PublicSource. I learned by listening to my trans friends and colleagues.

When media outlets and law enforcement agencies don’t use best practices surrounding crimes against transgender people, it re-victimizes.

You will find more information on the Trans Day of Remembrance You may notice that different sites or events have different numbers and/or names for those lost. There are many reasons this is the case – the data itself is imprecise, the criteria for whose death is due to anti-trans violence is hard to confirm, the inclusion of genderqueer and or genderfluid individuals who also identified as trans, the inclusion of victims of police-related-shootings, death by suicide, and domestic violence varies. But it is also the true that the overriding impact of erasure, deadnaming and misgendering individuals by law enforcement, the media, and family often greatly reduces our access to their names.

I urge you to visit different trans sites todays both on the web and on social media. Listen. Listen to what your local trans led organizations are saying about TDOR. Listen to what your local transgender neighbors are saying. Reach out in response to calls for support and investment. You may not get an answer you want, but this is not about allies getting our needs met. We are here for the Trans Day of Remembrance to listen, to support, and to acknowledge the realities of anti-trans violence for those who died just for who they are.

Monica Roberts at TransGriot has a history of the TDOR.

If you would like to listen, we are also amplifying the trans voices in our Western Pennsylvania region through the #AMPLIFY project. To date, 52 trans identified individuals have shared their stories. Responses represent approximately 22% of our total responses – keep in mind that we ask an open-ended question about identity so not all responses cannot easily be categorized. It is entirely possible other contributors do identify as trans, but did not share that information. One year ago at this time, we had 38 contributors who identified as trans, compared to 15 at this time in 2015. I hope we are doing something that’s useful and necessary by creating this archive.

Here are 52 stories from neighbors who live in Pittsburgh, Erie, Johnstown, Greensburg, New Castle, Bradford and beyond. Some are in their early 20s while others are closer to 60. Some transitioned early in life while others are still taking their first steps to embracing their identity in public.  And for others, their lives have changed dramatically since they submitted a response. To that end, we are currently offering contributors the opportunity to submit an update through the end of December 2017. We will offer this again before we permanently close the archive.

But for now, you have a snapshot of the lived experiences of 52 trans neighbors in their own voices. I hope you will some time to browse their Q&A’s and absorb some of the wisdom they’ve shared with all of us.

And we’d love to include your story as we move forward. Click here to fill out the Q&A. It takes about 30 minutes of your time. You can control what name you use and make the decision about using a photo. These Q&A’s are not in any particular order, but you can find the full chronological archive on this website.

  1. alexis, 29, talks compensation & community for marginalized lgbtq neighbors
  2. Rashod Is An Unapologetic Trans Man of Color
  3. Donna Met a Female Impersonator Who Made a Lasting Impression
  4. Katie-Anne Speaks As Two Spirited Bi Gendered Resident of Johnstown
  5. Twist Shares Their Life as Neuroqueer
  6. CJ Describes Living Stealth As A Trans Man
  7. Patrouious Describes His Fears & Frustrations as a Trans Man in McKean County 
  8. Sivynn Acknowledges That Some People Just Don’t Pay Attention to His Transition
  9. Brandon Believes Pittsburgh Should Have Better Trans Health Resources
  10. Jesse Believes in the Power of [Trans]cendence
  11. Jessi is a Trans Lesbian Who Asks Questions
  12. Kitty Is Out and Open as a Bisexual Trans Woman in Erie County 
  13. Alex is a Black Trans Man Who Doesn’t Apologize For His Existence
  14. Jesse Talks About Living as a Trans Woman in a Culture of Fear
  15. Kaley is Trans, Queer and a Fan of Gender Outlaws
  16. Roman Knows to the Depths of His Soul That He Is a Man #AMPLIFY
  17. Niki Talks About Living as a Gender Queer Trans Woman in Pittsburgh
  18. Jazmine, 46, Has Advice for LGB Allies to the Trans Community
  19. Moira Describes the Toll of Gatekeeping on the Trans Community
  20. Elliot is Bi, Trans and Wishes Westmoreland County Was Talking More About Queer Youth
  21. Corvus Regrets the Lack of Sober, Radical, Queer, and Disability Friendly Community in Pgh 
  22. Cavanaugh, 25, Talks About Genderflux Identity and the Value of Self-Care 
  23. Alyssa is First Generation Cuban American, Trans, Gender Nonconforming and from Beaver County
  24. Sabrina, 50, Found New Friends When She Came Out as Trans
  25. Alissa, 34, is Just Another Girl in the Crowd in Lawrence County
  26. Austin, 30, is a Straight Trans Man from Washington County
  27. Tylor, 30, is a Pansexual Trans Man Who Wants Better for Young People
  28. Bobby, 50, Queer Trans Guy, White Anti-Racism Activist
  29. Wes, 44: Queer Trans Man, Parent Wants You To Know That He Exists
  30. Patricia, 41, Does Not Feel Safe as a Trans Woman in Her Urban Pgh Suburb
  31. Avery is a Bisexual, Latino Tran Man in Cambria County
  32. Delilah, 31, Finds Trans Community on Twitter
  33. Caitlyn 51, Lives Her Authentic Self as a Trans Woman in Erie 
  34. ‘Your Story Can Heal’ Says Rain, 26
  35. Samantha, 44, Wants Better Health Choices for the Trans Community
  36. Ciora, 27, Says Trans People Have the Strength of Two Souls
  37. Lavi, 29, is Trans Queer Bi and Wants Your Respect & Support
  38. Vi, 24, Is Very Concerned About Trans Health Issues in Pittsburgh 
  39. Alexia, 40, is Bisexual, Transgender, and Loves Pittsburgh
  40. Jez, 50, Came Out As Trans in 1985 in Rural Washington County
  41. Bobbi Jo, 63, is a Transgender Lesbian in Indiana County
  42. Mindy, 42, Lives Semi-Open as Trans in Rural Elk County
  43. Dylan, 28, is a Queer, Autistic Transgender Man
  44. Joel, 35, is Gay, a Trans Guy, Polyamorous, Christian, Parent, & Husband 
  45. Scott, 53, is a Gay Man Exploring Transition & Identity Anew 
  46. Seth, 21, Came Out as Bi and Trans Via Power Point 
  47. Tyler, 18, is a Pansexual Trans Man in Erie
  48. Caiolin, 56, is Just Another Woman Who Happens To Be Trans
  49. Dawn, 33, Describes Life as a Trans Woman in Westmoreland County 
  50. Ravenna, 37, Pansexual Trans Woman Living in the Allegheny County Suburbs 
  51. Vanessa, 31, Describes Her Transition & Life as Pansexual in Washington County
  52. Lav, 29, a Queer Trans Gender Non Binary Mermaid Witch Warrior 

We appreciate each person who took the time to share their stories. It important that the experiences and truths of trans identity be preserved in the voices of trans neighbors, especially since TDOR honors the lives and deaths of those who no longer can speak for themselves. We must rely on their social media footprint, their friends and family to help us understand their lives.

The bravery and realness of the lives of our 52 contributors is a testament to how we resist the violence & erasure that robs so many of the opportunity to share their stories. The question now is how will *you* be part of the resistance?

 

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