Lux Knutsen Cowles
On this day, in this moment, we honor those who have been violently erased by a system of collective thinking that fears gender non-conformity, and gender transformation. As we dwell in the wound here together, I take my time to look around, to wonder at the nature of this recycling, festering violence. What pain, what inner deadness incites people to attack and brutalize other people for visibly expressing who they are?
I actually don’t have a fully-formed answer to that question, so I want to introduce someone else with more wisdom than me: public truth-teller and world-envisioner Alok Vaid Menon. Alok is an internationally acclaimed author, poet, comedian, and public speaker. In this video clip, they are a responding to a man who has asked: how can I help support trans people?
Clip: 10:12-12:57 in the following video
What do we, personally and collectively, need in order to heal that which has atrophied inside of us in the face of a gender binary? I think Alok’s invitation is to heal, but also to change and to grow. Most of us change and grow over the course of our lifetimes, and it’s perfectly reasonable that our genders might too, in more subtle or more noticeable ways.
In addition to honoring our dead, I want to offer the possibility of extending our gratitude to them, for the example of how to live one’s truth unconditionally in spite of Empire. And I suggest that we can also offer our dead a gift, the gift of being claimed as ancestors, that is, as people whose stories we know and tell, and whose teachings help us to co-create a world of just compassion now. Be it so.
What message of hope can we leave with today?
We have just named those in the transgender community who had their lives taken from them due to violence. The pain of losing people in our community is deep! It’s painful! The violence is unnecessary!
What hope can we find from this vigil today? The hope simply is standing with us in this time of reflection. Your presence is confirmation of your support, making a difference, as we walk, hand in hand, intolerant of transphobic violence.
How can we make a difference? Here are a few thoughts:
- Support our right to exist as any other human being as we continue to be targeted by anti trans legislation.
- Educate yourself to understand the transgender community.
- Your role as an advocate matters. Positive change will not occur unless we can make transphobia wrong.
- With the hope you have given us here today, I believe we can all work together to make our world a better place. Join me in this journey of acceptance. Follow the love.