Last night, I met with about three dozen other folks for the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance, with this particular event being held in Reno, NV — a city where, to my knowledge and evidently that of everyone there, things are comparatively transgender-friendly and non-violent.
Some e-candles were lighted and a minister from a transgender-friendly church opened with a non-denominational spiritual reading. Next, the moderator provided a stack of papers. Each paper had the name (and sometimes picture) of a transgender person who had been murdered in the past year, plus the specifics and location of the murder.
Most of the murdered people were girls. I noticed that the country mentioned most frequently was Brazil, and the Brazilian city mentioned most was Sao Paulo. Since a transgender friend of mine lives there, I’m now more concerned for her safety than before. Even so, information like this has to be evaluated carefully. For example, cities who track and report crime more precisely can on the surface look more dangerous than cities where the crimes are more of an unrecorded blur.
Taking turns, the folks present at the Reno ceremony took the microphone and read a name and information on one piece of paper, and held up the picture (if any) for the bystanders to see. It was very intense. I felt myself becoming very angry at this injustice.
A friend of mine sang a sad Fleetwood Mac song in remembrance, and then the group adjourned to a nearby auditorium where two transgender guys, the minister and I were on-stage for a Q&A session. The moderator asked some questions, as did some members of the audience. This lasted for more than an hour. The mood was generally positive and optimistic.
Some members of the audience were candid as to their experiences not being as rosy as that of some of the panelists have experienced. I was probably the most candid panelist there. I explained how I’d been interacting with bullies since I was very young, and had come to learn that an intended victim who fights back so effectively as to become a danger to the bullies becomes undesirable for the bullying mindset, since bullies’ comfort zone is where they are in a position of overwhelming dominance.
I described the process of obtaining a Concealed Carry Permit and suggested that transgender people consider that option.
One panelist described how he is working with the Washoe County Sheriff’s Department people to assist them in planning out a set of revised guidelines for when a transgender person is arrested. As an example, as a transgender guy, he wouldn’t want to be put in with the females, but it might also be dangerous to be in with the males.
It became even more clear to me how relatively positive an area Reno, NV is for being a transgender person. Many transgender people who leave home head out for San Francisco on general principles, but once they arrive, they find the day-to-day economic realities to be stark even though there is general acceptance of transgender people. If someone were headed out West, my guess is that Reno seems to be a very good choice.
After the meeting adjourned, several members of the audience came up to me to say “hello” and other nice things. It felt good.
The event was very well-organized, and the turnout was impressive, especially given how comparatively small a city Reno is.