Transgender Day of Remembrance

Sunday, November 20th is Transgender Day of Remembrance.  Dignity/New York will commemorate this day with 2 liturgies where we will honor and grieve the transgender people who were murdered in hate crimes in the past year. 

Our morning Come To The Table: Catholic Worship for All liturgy  at the LGBT Center is shared with people all over the world.  Along with those who gather at the Center, 12 or more groups gather at the same time as "House Church" to pray with us each month.   For more information, email [email protected] 

For our evening liturgy at St. John' in The Village, we are honored to have Melissa Sklarz joining us to share her thoughts in the homily.   For more information, email [email protected]

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As we commemorate Transgender Day of Remembrance, we will follow the custom Christians of El Salvador developed to expressing their faith and their resistance when people were murdered. 

During our liturgy, when we read aloud the names of those who have been murdered we will call out, “¡Presente!” (Here!)

We give thanks for your transgender saints whom we lost this year to violence. 

Monica Loera, “¡Presente!”  

Jasmine Sierra, “¡Presente!”  

Maya Young, “¡Presente!”

Kendarie/Kandicee Johnson, “¡Presente!”

Keyonna Blakeney, “¡Presente!”   

Tyreece  “Reecey” Walker, “¡Presente!”

Mercedes Successful, “¡Presente!”  

Amos Beede, “¡Presente!”  

Devin Diamond, “¡Presente!”  

Deeniquia Dodds, “¡Presente!”

Dee Whigham, “¡Presente!”  

Erykah Tijerina, “¡Presente!”  

Rae’lynn Thomas, “¡Presente!”  

TT Saffore, “¡Presente!”

Crystal Edmonds, “¡Presente!”

the saints we know of but not of their names, and those who died unknown. “¡Presente!”

We remember those whose stories were buried with them, whose families or officials who named them or reported their deaths in a way that did not honor their gender. We know you know the names of their hearts. We hold that you know them by name even when we do not. Neighbor them to us. Keep them in our hearts, and move us toward deeper community with transgender and gender non-conforming people across your world. 

Let your Holy Spirit speak through us and guide us into community.    Amen     (adapted from Rev. Jay Wilson)

 

 

About Melissa Sklarz:  

Melissa Sklarz became the first trans person elected to office in 1999 when she was elected as a judicial delegate in th 66th Assembly District in Greenwich Village.

She is the former President of Gay & Lesbian Independent Democrats and Stonewall Democrats of NYC, and is the former Board co-Chair of the Empire State Pride Agenda and National Stonewall Democrats.

Melissa was part of the team that brought trans civil rights to New York City and was at the side of Mayor Bloomberg when he signed the law in May 2002. Melissa advocated for trans rights in New York State for over 15 years and was at the side of Governor Cuomo when he announced his legal strategy changing the law in New York to include trans identities under the civil rights administrative law.

Melissa has worked with the NYPD to change the Patrol Guide to be more trans sensitive and helped change the law in New York City on trans birth certificates and ID. Melissa has worked with both Hetrick Martin Inst. and SAGE to engage those organizations on trans identities.

Melissa has been part of the New York delegation in the past 4 Democratic Conventions and this year she became the first trans delegate from New York. Also this year, Melissa is part of the Electoral College and will vote for Hillary Clinton in December.

Melissa is a former peer counselor at the Gender Identity Project at the LGBT Community Center and is currently a Director at Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund.