November 13 through November 19 is Transgender Awareness Week, followed by Transgender Day of Remembrance on November 20. During this time, Legacy honors the transgender community who have helped pave the way for LGBTQ+ equality.
By Barrett White
The LGBTQ+ community has seen much progress over the last 50 years. Individuals identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender have been present in societies farther back than antiquity. The modern movement for equality in America, however, is generally agreed to have been kick-started with the Stonewall Riots – and more locally, the Anti-Anita Bryant demonstration in downtown Houston in 1977.
The national movement, which paved the way for everything that modern Pride festivals celebrate today, was largely born of the work put forth at the Stonewall Inn on those raucous nights in June 1969. At the forefront of the riots were folks like Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, and Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, transgender women of color who would continue to fight for equality for years after Stonewall until their deaths (save for Griffin-Gracy, who is still with us – and still fighting).
Too often however, the fruits of transgender labor aren’t recognized by the community and LGBTQ allies.
The notion that the work put in by the transgender community is too often forgotten by the larger LGBTQ+ movement is especially clear in the unforgettable – if not entirely heartbreaking – clip of Sylvia Rivera getting booed while addressing the crowd at 1973 Pride in New York City.
Legacy strives to honor the contributions of the Transgender community and we celebrate their contributions during this important week.
Transgender Awareness Week runs annually from November 13 through 19, and culminates with Transgender Day of Remembrance on November 20. These observances are especially important in a state like Texas, which leads the nation in murders of black transgender women, according to a report released by ABC13.
In Houston, transgender pioneer Dee Dee Watters is working steadfastly to ensure visibility and equity for the transgender community.
“I have a quote that goes, ‘I am she. She was me.’” Watters says. “People need to recognize that this could happen to you or me.”
The troubling trend, Watters also points out, is that murders among transgender women specifically target the black transgender community. “These aren’t ‘trans women of color;’ these are specifically black trans women,” she says. Watters will host an event on Transgender Day of Remembrance at St. Luke the Evangelist Episcopal Church, 3530 Wheeler Avenue, from 7 to 9 p.m.
Legacy honors Muhlaysia Booker, Chynal Lindsey, Tracy Single, and Itali Marlowe, the known transgender Texans taken from us before their time in 2019. As with every year, Legacy will illuminate the Westheimer-facing façade of our Montrose clinic with the colors of the transgender flag on the evening of November 20.