Birthdays, Anniversaries, and TDOR

I love birthdays, especially mine. Not because of doing anything special for them, although that's nice, but because it means I survived another year, which is a big deal to me as someone who has been suicidal. It's also a personal New Year's, a time for me to take stock. And in the same week, we have the anniversary of our domestic partnership. So that's cool, too.

It's been a busy year. Just before my birthday last year, I got on Abilify, which has been a miracle for me. It's just massively changed my life. This summer, I went back to school, planning on a certificate in Database Administration and Design. I'm debating whether I want to be a database admin or a backend dev with a focus on database-driven projects. We'll see. I'm getting straight A's in my classes, with the help of Adderall, and I'm enjoying them as well. I got a job tutoring. Before I started school, I spent time studying both SQL and Ruby. I started writing the Book of the Downward Labyrinth, my tradition's Book of the Dead, with instructions both for the living and the Dead. I started Rewriting Death, where I blog about the process of writing that book. I've continued to write the Litany. I started the Polytheist Death Guild, and began attending a Death Cafe. I made some awesome dolls. I went to my first professional conference for tech, SeaGL, and had an interesting and pleasant time.

Despite all the shittiness of 2016, it's been the best year I've had since the restaurant closed. It's the year I started to take back my life. And I feel good about that.

But casting a bit of a shadow over both birthday (19th) and anniversary (14th) is the 20th, which is the Transgender Day of Remembrance. A day set aside every year to remember all the trans people who have been murdered in the previous 365 days. This year the total was 259. That we know of. Every year, the list gets longer. Some of that is that we hear about more of them, but some does genuinely seem to be that the numbers are getting higher. I've seen it said that murder is the #1 top cause of death of trans women, although I haven't been able to find a source for that, and am suspicious of it. Suicide is also a contender, especially for trans people who can't get access to transition treatments.

Last year, I wrote some verses of the Litany for TDOR and the Trans Rite of Ancestor Elevation. Here they are again:

I pray to the Murdered Trans Women

Slaughtered for their status
Who go without justice or vengeance

May you be uplifted
I pray to the Murdered Trans Women

I pray to the Murdered Trans Men
Slain for your difference

Who go without vengeance or justice

May you be uplifted
I pray to the Murdered Trans Men

I pray to the Murdered Genderqueer Folk
And, or, neither
Killed still for difference
May you be uplifted
I pray to the Murdered Genderqueer Folk

I pray to the Trans Suicides

You who died in despair
Of a world that hated you

May you be uplifted
I pray to the Trans Suicides

I pray to the Trans Activist Dead
You who stood up and said No!

You who insisted that you, too, are human

May you be uplifted

I pray to the Trans Activist Dead

I pray to the Trans Elders

You who held on in times before
And lived long enough to pass on wisdom

May you be uplifted

I pray to the Trans Elders

I pray to the Trans Youth
So young to face the hatred in this world

But so strong to live as long as you did

May you be uplifted

I pray to the Trans Youth

I pray to the Trans People of Color
Doubly oppressed and doubly hated

Shining and beautiful and wonderful

May you be uplifted
I pray to the Trans People of Color

I pray to the Trans Dead

Whether you were warriors
Or only wanted to live your lives

May you be uplifted
I pray to the Trans Dead