Trans day of remembrance

What is it?

Transgender day of remembrance is about remembering the members of the community that were lost to acts of transphobic violence. It started in 1999 to remember Rita Hester, who was killed the year before. It's one of the darkest parts of the year for anyone in the community.

What it means to me

I find this day a bit of a strange one, as personally I don't know anyone who died by acts of violence. However, while I do not wish to lessen the importance of those particular acts for me this day revolves around members of the community who took their own life. I know it's not the same, but all those I know who took their own life did so because of how the world treated them. Either they struggled under family pressures, grew up in a part of the world that would be dangerous for them to truly transition, or everything just looked hopeless. While this isn't the same as a violent death by a transphobe’s hands, the pressures of culture can be a heavy thing to bear.

Why it's so hard

When I was about 25, I lived in a household with a bunch of people, and while others came and went I always lived in that house (I think over the 4 years I lived there I had 7 roommates even though there were only 3 bedrooms total). I don't really want to go into details too hard here, but essentially someone moved in who had really strong suicidal tendencies. While they were living with me, with no one else home, they tried to take their life with the intention of making sure I would be the one to find them as they believed my mourning would be the most powerful and would make their life more worthwhile.

My memory of that day is pretty broken, I remember finding them on the edge of death and managing to get an ambulance there while they tried to scream at me to stop. I remember the blood congealed to the point it was like red jam filling the bed.

My therapist says I have heavy trauma around the idea of suicide, and while I have gotten a lot better at facing it when it comes up in a real-life situation my entire brain freezes up and stops working.

Trans day of remembrance has heavy trauma

Who do I light a candle for every year

I have had a few distant friends, here and there, that I remember. But there are two in particular I remember. To keep them anonymous (as much as they can be), I will use the names I knew them by rather than anything that can be used to track them.


First up, that's a weird name, right? Yup, Meg was a friend who I met during the vanilla World of Warcraft days. During this time, I was a nightmare, I was just out of high school, I didn't have a job and I mainly lived in my parent's garage and played video games. Wow vanilla was a time of my life where I lost myself to the online juice stronger than any other moment of my life, and I spent 10 hours a day at least on this game.

I was so lost in the sauce, I ran a vanilla raid group, doing Molten Core, Blackwing Lair, Ahn'qiraj and some relaxing runs every week.

This was partially due to depression, but more importantly this was because I hadn't come out as being trans (to myself or to the world in general). I hadn't put two and two together, but I played under a femme name and refused to talk on Team Speak. You think that being so insistent about people thinking I was a cis girl that I ran a 40-person raid group that primarily communicated over Team Speak purely in text form. My typing was through the roof.

Meg joined halfway through Vanilla, she was masc presenting at the time and worked at a local radio station in the US. She had the most powerful and impressive radio voice I had ever heard, although it presented incredibly masc. She had such charisma and charm, but while she was a powerhouse, she was kind of in the same world as me. Her heavy depression and refusal to look at any of her gender leanings meant that she spent all her time online to the point she eventually lost her radio job.

She was the first person outside of my partner at the time I came out to.

Eventually we fell out of touch, and shortly after she died from health complications. She had been eating herself to death and eventually her body gave in.

The last letter I got


Mithi was... a student of mine while I was teaching. I had intentionally made the choice to be publicly out about being trans while teaching with the intention of being someone students could come to with questions. I wanted to be an example of living carefree as trans, I wanted cis students to have that experience of interacting with a trans person who helped them out, I just wanted to be there. On the first day of that semester a really nervous masc presenting student approached nervously and asked me some questions.

Over the months, I helped Mithi with coming to terms with things. I helped her with the pathways with doctors she needed to take. I tried to help her with talking to her parents (not talking to them myself, obviously, but giving her advice on how to approach the conversation).

With her help, I built a support network on the campus, the Queer Collective. We had movie nights, we had lunchtime parties, we chatted and helped each other out. She found her first partner through that group, she was happy and generally it felt like her life was on the right path.

When I moved to Melbourne she stayed in Brisbane. We kept in touch for a year after my move, and then she stopped messaging me, and stopped responding to my messages. This was something I found out later was happening to all her friends. A years later she was dead by her own hands.

Why is this is important

So, why do I feel this links with Trans day of remembrance, and why does this deserve its own day? The easiest answer I could give you is that when Meg died, her family had no idea about her gender dysphoria. She never gathered the power to tell them, and someone needs to remember her as she was. However, a stronger example is what happened with Mithi's death.

Mithi's funeral

I got a message from a friend of a friend. Mithi's close friends had changed but they all knew about me and had found a way to reach out to let me know what had happened. There was a funeral planned back in Brisbane I knew I had to be there. But, I also wanted to reach out to her family and give them my condolences.

Her family were transphobes. I knew, from our discussions, that Mithi had had problem with them but I didn't know how bad it was. I contacted her mum and she was pretty welcoming of my thoughts and was happy to chat. Unfortunately, her mum was the nicest of the bunch. Regardless, I had my ticket to Brisbane booked and I had all the details of the funeral.

Three days before I left Melbourne I received an email telling me to under no circumstances was I to turn up to the funeral. On top of that, Mithi's brother had found her laptop and changed all her social media names to be her old dead name. To be clear, Mithi had legally changed her name and moved out of the house. There was no reason to do this. He also then pretended to be Mithi and sent messages to friends telling them it was their fault Mithi was dead. I was spared from this, most likely because as an old teacher I was in a different ball park.

I travelled to Brisbane anyway and put together a vigil for her in the backyard of my parent's house. We built a bonfire, we read out letters to Mithi and we burnt them.

5 people turned up to that vigil, it was the total number of friends Mithi had. I heard 20 people turned up to her official funeral, which was up under her deadname. It's fucked up because everytime I stop thinking about how fucked up that is my trauma brain just glazes over what it means. It's so close to the suicide situation, and so heavy that the defensive part of my head won't let me remember it.

I have to remember, because not many people do. Neither of these two people left the world with many people that understood that part of them.

It's a tough day

Why did I write this? It's partially because a lot of people around me know that this is a tough day, but they don't know why. They don't know why so many trans people around them may have sudden dips of mood. Hell, they might not understand why the day is important, especially since for the first time modern media has seen a moment of depression and anger and they feast on that shit.

I don't know who will read this, but for those that do, I hope your day of remembrance is ok. Life is hard but if these stories teach you anything I hope it's that sticking together and not losing contact is important. I regret losing contact no matter how long for both of these people, they both meant the world to me but depression and ADHD is a bitch to get around.