Eckerd celebrated Transgender Day of Remembrance, a day dedicated to recognizing both transgender accomplishments and violence against transgender people, with a concert by Dani Shay. Shay is a non-binary (identifying as a gender or sexuality that does not fit on a traditional gender/sexuality binary, like man or woman, and heterosexual or homosexual.) singer/songwriter who uses the pronouns they/them. They write songs about love, loss, heartbreak and identity from the perspective of a non-binary person.
“Transgender people are just as much the fabric of society as anybody else,” Shay said, in between songs at Miller Auditorium on Nov. 26, “We’ve been here.”
Junior Jamie Myre, Women’s Resource Center Work Scholar and a longtime fan of Shay’s, organized the event.
“I think there’s a huge transgender and non-binary population on this campus that is really underrepresented,” she said.
People gathered in the center of the auditorium, tapping their feet, humming and at some points crying to the music. Shay played on their acoustic guitar, and got the audience to sing along.
The festive mood was underscored with quiet grief. According to the Human Rights Campaign, five transgender women have been killed in possible hate crimes in Florida during 2018. In every instance, the sheriff's office misgendered the dead, and despite learning of their gender identity, continued to do so.
Using a transgender person’s dead gender (genders assigned at birth) and dead name (names assigned at birth) is not just a matter of personal belief; it is disregarding their entire identity.
To the families and friends of the deceased, it is as if their loved ones have died twice; once, their bodies lifeless in the real world, and again, their lives invalid in the eyes of the law.
“It’s infuriating,” said Sami Higgins, a transgender Eckerd senior. “It’s a community that’s been marginalized and killed. It’s draining, sometimes.”
Transgender Day of Remembrance exists to remember these men, women and non-binary people as the colorful individuals they were, not as a black-and-white world wanted to see them.
These are the names of the transgender people killed in Florida in 2018:
Londonn Moore, 20
Sasha Garden, 27
Celine Walker, 36
Antash’a English, 38
Cathalina James, 24
“Transgender Day of Remembrance is about remembering the ones that were lost, but also embracing the ones that are here, and letting them know, you belong,” Myre said. “We accept you, we love you and we see you.”