Yesterday was the Transgender Day of Remembrance in Amsterdam. The official day is today but it was held yesterday in order to get noticed as much as possible. Which is still needed. A big part of this day is remembering the dead but it’s also to make the people more aware of us and especially the lack of rights we have all over the world.
People were to meet at the COC in Amsterdam at 3pm and at 4pm we were to leave to a memorial monument. Everyone who wanted to could grab a white helium-filled balloon that had a string with a tag attached. On those tags were the names of the transgender people that were murdered in the past year, their place of birth, their age, and their cause of death… If known, as not always all data was properly reported.
The deaths were often brutal. The ‘mildest’ ones were where people were shot in the head, but others died from multiple stab wounds, being burned alive, dismembered, decapitated, ran over and smashed with a block of concrete. It’s pretty horrific to realize that every other day this still happens somewhere in the world, and those are only the ones we know of. It’s a frightening thought. While I realize I live in one of the safer parts of the world (there are no reported trans hate crimes in The Netherlands since 2007) it is still a thought that lingers in the back of my head.
Once everyone had arrived at the monument there were several speeches held by people invested in the trans community. There was someone from the city council, the leader from the trans rights movement in the Philippines, and more but I cannot really remember who they all were right now but their words affected me greatly. A point was made to tell everyone to please become more visible to make people know we exist and deserve the same rights as any other individual. I cried during most of this which only got worse when the part was reached where everyone would go to the microphone, one by one, recite the information of the victim listed on the tag of their balloon, and let it go into the air. There were a lot of them. Too many. And as was made clear, they weren’t even from all the victims of the past year, that number is even greater.
The sadness was overwhelming but I’m still glad I went. I’m also glad my boyfriend was with me because there is no way I could have gone through all of this on my own. It definitely left an impact.