DSC_0032_0Quote from Mother Jones, Labor and Community Organizer
Photo by Ted Moree from 2011 BreakOUT! Memorial Vigil

BreakOUT! Commemorates 15th Annual Transgender Day of Remembrance
by BreakOUT! Member, L’lerret Jazelle Ailith

BreakOUT! was founded on the structures of community, advocacy, and action for those LGBTQ individuals residing in the greater New Orleans area who need it the most. We have an obligation to uplift those in our community that are consistently marginalized and misrepresented. With most of our members identifying under the trans* umbrella, it is necessary and pertinent that we take the time to truly give a mic and a light to these brothers and sisters during the time of TDOR.

TDOR (Transgender Day of Remembrance) occurs annually on November 20th to memorialize those trans* identified individuals who have lost their lives due to crimes committed as a result of transphobia and to bring attention to the gravity of violence consistently endured by the trans* community. TDOR was founded by Gwendolyn Ann Smith to originally memorialize Rita Hester, a slain trans* woman from Massachusetts. From that point on, it has expanded to be a day recognized internationally to bring awareness to dominant society of issues consistently afflicting the trans* community.

Today is a day for us to memorialize all of those who were gone too soon and to also invite healing and compassion into our lives.  Too many trans* identified people are left off of the list due to the erasure of their identities and misgendering in the media. On this day, we stand not only to end crimes against our family initiated by other citizens but also systemic violence standardized by the police and ignored by our justice system.

On this day, we take a stand against institutionalized transphobia that continuously inhibits and invisibilizes these individuals. We recognize that a lack of support and social service such as housing make us more vulnerable to acts of violence. We also acknowledge that the criminalization of survival strategies complicates trans* persons efforts to obtain jobs, housing, and even have access to emergency shelter services.  We will continue in our efforts to eradicate the devaluing stereotypes choking the trans* community.

We as members of BreakOUT! will not only memorialize those trans* people murdered due to their gender identity and expression, but also those whose murders go uncounted at many TDOR events, including several deaths in in New Orleans and Baton Rouge this year. We come together to uplift our family and make sure that they know that amidst the adversity and invisibility, we will continue to fight to affect positive and beneficial change in society. We want our brothers and sisters to know that their lives have worth and there is so much more available to them than what is painted by the transphobic systems of today.

We also encourage everyone in the New Orleans area to memorialize this day with others who are coming together to celebrate our community!

L’lerret’s writings were also recently featured here.