The LGBTQ community has a meeting on the fourth Sunday of each month at the Sage Granada United Methodist Church in Alhambra. The gathering on the 26th of this month is special because November has been designated as Transgender Awareness Month. Marion I are definitely going to attend this potluck event.
I went to Wikipedia to learn more about this specially designated month. Nov. 20 is the Transgender Day of Remembrance. On this day in 1998, transfemale Rita Hessler was murdered. On this day, each year, we remember all those transgendered individuals who have been killed. In 2015, 21 transgendered women were murdered, prompting current Attorney General Jeff Sessions to ask federal authorities to investigate to determine whether the homicides would qualify as hate crimes.
Speakers at the event will be attorney Mia Yamamoto and Aiden Aizumi, the son of renowned LGBTQ activist Marsha Aizumi.
The rights of transgendered individuals in this country are under serious attack. In February, President Trump went back on his vow to protect the rights of LGBTQ persons, which he made on his campaign trail, by issuing an order that would not allow the transgendered to use the bathroom of their choice. Then in July, he issued an executive order that would prohibit the transgendered from serving in the military. I was encouraged to read how a few prominent military leaders, citing past experience, tell of how transgendered individuals have more than adequately met military expectations.
Transgender Day of Remembrance comes just before Thanksgiving. How can we put together giving thanks on the one hand, and on the other, remembering those who have been murdered? While we condemn those who would kill another because of that person’s sexual difference, I am thankful that we have progressed in our country to the extent of making legal the marriage of all people who love one another, regardless of a person’s sex at birth. And, I am thankful for those pioneers having the courage to declare their sexual difference.
Mia and Aiden are two such persons, having lived through some some very difficult times. Through it all they have become fine individuals. You are invited to join us to hear them on Nov. 26.
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Phil Shigekuni writes from San Fernando Valley and can be contacted at [email protected] Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.