For the past nine years, the Miami Transgender Day of Remembrance & Resilience (TDORR, or TDOR&R) committee has dedicated our time, energy, and resources to hosting this sacred event. We envision a world where all trans & non-binary people -- especially Black, Brown, Indigenous -- can live and thrive without being bound by the shackles of white supremacy and systemic oppression. Where we can live the full, joyful, and meaningful lives that we are owed. It is our duty to honor our murdered and fallen siblings who couldn’t make it to this liberated world, and we will continue to do so until trans and non-binary lives are honored as they should be.
Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoR) was started in 1999 by trans advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith as a vigil to honor Rita Hester, a trans woman who was murdered during the prior year. The vigil also honored all of the trans people lost to violence that year after Rita’s death, thus beginning the annual international Transgender Day of Remembrance.
In 2013, Miami held its first TDOR event at Barry University. At the event, a local white gay male "ally" delivered a TDOR speech written by a trans woman of color (that he found on YouTube), failing to credit her, while publicly mincing and owning pieces of her life story as his own. When brought to a restorative justice process, he lied to the organizers about his rights to the speech, and only further stomped on the sanctity of TDOR. Several local trans people involved (some who are no longer alive) collectively vowed to never let something like this happen again at TDOR on our watch. To honor our collective strength in the face of ongoing harm, a resilience component was added to our existing TDOR event, and the Miami Transgender Day of Remembrance and Resilience (TDOR&R) event was born. The above image is from one of our early TDORR t-shirt designs. Since 2014, this grassroots and entirely trans/non-binary planning committee has brought the community together to respectfully mourn and honor the lives of trans people lost, while also focusing on our resiliency by uplifting the lives of trans/non-binary people living in our community.
It is important for us to note that this framework and the name TDORR (or TDOR&R, as it sometimes appears on our materials) is unique to the annual Miami event (historically held at Barry University), and is NOT the name of the international day of remembrance, which continues to be recognized around the world as TDOR or TDoR. As such, we respectfully ask that other local groups/organizations avoid using the name TDORR or TDOR&R; this only causes confusion and is further exploitation of our ideas and labor. This event has been painstakingly put together year over year, as many of us have had to publicly honor our own dead friends and family. The name is weighted in the harms that we experienced in 2013, and the harms we continue to experience locally, not only with this event, but in other community spaces, and in employment, healthcare, and housing. TDOR&R represents our pain and our triumph, and all that we and our trans siblings have endured and overcome in South Florida. The name TDORR is personal to us.
Finally, it is our stance that Transgender Day of Remembrance is NOT a platform to fundraise on (beyond operating expenses for hosting TDOR events), and it most certainly is not the space to honor cisgender allies. Not only is this grossly inappropriate, but it is directly disrespectful to the sacred intention of the event.
This year is especially painful. We are still surviving in the midst of a pandemic and statewide attacks on trans rights and healthcare. Not only are we facing overwhelming and ambiguous loss, but the very foundation of our lives continues to be shaken. In the midst of all of this, Transgender Day of Remembrance is still something that needs to be held because we are still losing our siblings.
We ask that you learn and honor the history of TDOR. We ask that you remember why this event is sacred. We ask that, no matter who you are, you honor our fallen and murdered siblings in a way that isn’t exploitative, voyeuristic, or for your personal or organizational gain. We are worth infinitely more than being tokens or checkboxes for funders.
We demand that you give us our roses while we are still here.
The 2022 Miami Transgender Day of Remembrance & Resilience (TDORR) Planning Committee