Family of Me

by Daphne
Updates Mondays and Fridays

Extra Scene 6: Trans Day of Remembrance 2023

This scene contains discussions of violence and suicide. Please read with care.

(I’m in a living room-sized space, pulling out the legs of a card table and locking them into place. I could always poof the table into existence, but doing the work by hand feels more appropriate today. Once the table is set up, I gather the rest of my supplies: matches, a box of candles, a small stack of small paper plates. My daughters start filing into the room as I poke six candles through the plates so the plates will catch dripping wax.)

Mom (Me): Hello girls. Thank you for coming.

Bloom (The Survivor): What’s going on, Mom? Everything feels so somber today.

Mom: Today is Transgender Day of Remembrance — the day we remember those of us who were victims of deadly violence. Today we hold space for our trans siblings who were taken from us before they could live full lives.

Libra (The Friend): I guess that explains the candles then.

Mom: Yes. I was hoping we could go around the room and share things we survived, to honor the memory of those who didn’t.

Aura (The Professional): Is that appropriate? We’ve never experienced physical violence as a trans woman. Besides, we’re very privileged and very white, and most trans women who are victims of violence are neither of those things.

Lark (The Dreamer): That’s true, but physical violence isn’t the only thing that kills us. A trans kid who takes their own life because they don’t see a future for themselves is just as dead as someone shot to death with a gun.

Ivy (The Partner): Physical violence is still horrific — but culture and legislation to rob us of our future and snuff out our souls is horrific too. We survived, but there are many who didn’t, and I want to see so many more of us live long enough to grow into our true selves.

Mom: As do we all. Shall we begin?

(I start lighting the candles and passing them out. As I do, the girls start speaking, one at a time.)

Bloom: In my time, I subconsciously buried myself. It was the 90’s, and I knew I would never be accepted — society still barely accepted gay people; transness was practically treated as a disease. Had I tried to come out, my future would have likely been conversion therapy or military school. So I buried myself, and I survived. Today I remember the teens who didn’t.

Libra: In my time, I didn’t know myself. I had free access to the Internet for the first time and found furry culture, which was my first concrete step in my long road to transition, but I kept it at arms length. I was taught to distrust those too far from mainstream society, and I refused to engage beyond the Internet. Had I tried to get involved, I would have risked being cut off by my parents… So I stayed away, and I survived. Today I remember the curious who didn’t.

Aura: In my time, I lost touch with myself. I stumbled through life, chasing after goals I thought I was supposed to achieve, trying to earn the things I thought I wanted. I was given space to fail, and fail I did, over and over. I was too wrapped up in living a lie to notice the truth. It’s just as well; the truth would likely have ended my career and my future would have vanished. So I stayed blind, and I survived. Today I remember the visionaries who didn’t.

Ivy: In my time, I forgot myself. I was learning to live as someone’s partner, so my priorities were shifting, and I didn’t leave space for self-discovery. I grew in some ways, but I still refused to think too hard about my gender and what the incongruence in the back of my mind might mean. If I did, I’m not sure what might have happened… Maybe I could have transitioned early, but I can’t know for sure. Regardless, I was never at risk of being hurt or killed by a jealous or panicked spouse, and I survived. Today I remember the partners who didn’t.

Lark: I held our dreams of womanhood for decades, waiting for the moment when my Mom was ready for them. It took a very long time, but I kept them safe and she eventually came around. Not everyone gets that chance — some lose sight of that dream, or they have it taken from them, and some lose their will to go on. We kept hold of that dream and we survived. Today I remember the dreamers who didn’t.

Mom: Now I am myself, beautiful and growing still. But there are still many powerful people in the world who would prefer me erased or killed. The world is a frightening place for trans people right now, and while I live in relative safety, I can’t know how long that safety will hold. So far I’ve navigated this world and I’ve survived. Today I remember the siblings who didn’t.

(All of us stood in silence, watching our candles and each other with tired, yet determined eyes. As one, we all hold our candles out to each other, resolving to keep them lit as long as we’re able.)