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  • Writer's pictureLeoOtherland

Remember Us While We’re Alive

“When you’re dead, you’re dead. No one is going to remember me when I’m dead. Oh maybe a few friends will remember me affectionately. Being remembered isn’t the most important thing anyhow. It’s what you do when you are here that’s important.” — Susan Hayward

If it’s what you do while you’re here, and alive, that’s important, does it also stand to reason that it’s who remembers you while you’re here that’s more important than who remembers you when you’re gone?

“Funny, how gentle people get with you once you’re dead.” — Sunset Boulevard, 1950

People can remember us however they want, once we’re dead. They can make us into people that we aren’t, people they wished, or thought we were, in order to generate whatever feeling they need. But does any of that count if people don’t remember us while we’re alive? Remember us, and care for us, as who we are?

Monday, November 20, was Trans Day of Remembrance, the day of the year set aside to remember trans and gender non-conforming people who lost their lives to violence. This year, across the globe, there were hundreds. I honestly haven’t had the mental energy, or will, to go looking for the exact number. Reading the article from the Human Rights Campaign and comparing the death toll to the fluffy-hopeful post the US Department of State put out in recognition of Trans Day of Remembrance…

Well, the disparity is enough to wreck my mental health.

The difficulty of finding words to say on Trans Day of Remembrance is one of the reasons I didn’t have this post ready on Monday. The other major reason is rather ironic, if you think about it. Most of Monday the 20, I spent fighting with my health insurance, trying to get my HRT covered.

It’s not going to be covered.

The irony of that fact, that I was fighting for my life and rights as a trans person on Trans Day of Remembrance… it was enough to knock me flat on my ass. I. Just. Couldn’t. Do. It.

Couldn’t do anything.

I spent Monday and Tuesday trying to work myself back into a position where I could think and feel and go about the everyday tasks of life. I think I’m finally back there, and this post is a testament to that.

I knew for several weeks that I wanted to post something for Trans Day of Remembrance, but I didn’t know what until Monday, as I sat there, literally crying at my desk at work and trying not to let my coworkers see. The sentence that kept going through my head, the one thought I wanted to impart on that day of remembrance, was this: Remember us while we’re alive.

What good does it do us to remember us once we’re dead? If our lives have already ended in violence, and there is no longer anything that can be done to make our time on this earth any better, because we have none left, what good does it do us to be remembered?

Remember those of us who are still alive and still fighting. Don’t be gentle with us when we can no longer feel it. We need your help and support now, and if you remember us now, and fight with us now, maybe next year there won’t be hundreds of names on the list of the dead.

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