Gratitude for Transgender Day of Remembrance at Xʷc̓ic̓əsəm Garden – November 19, 2021
By Angelic Goldsky
We were grateful for the space to feel, honour and remember those transcestors (transgender ancestors) who created the roadmaps and stars for us to claim our trans power.
We were delightfully grateful to the Xʷc̓ic̓əsəm Garden for holding the space to our collective, the Transgender Expressions Haven, so trans folks can have a space to process and reflect on the violence that affects transgender lives, and all the lives that have been lost, or not lived, because of it.
We came together to remember all those that existed, all those that were put back into the closet at the time of death, all those who were never called by their true name, all those who did not make it to be called survivors, and all those that spent their lives fighting in defence of a trans future worth living, for us all.
We came together for Trans Day of Remembrance and shared a vigil, a day of mourning and celebration around an intimate fire. With tea, poetry, and music, we shared our grief together and released it. Our friends were invited to bring in an object or photograph of trans ancestors they wanted to honour for our collaborative altar space.
It was really special to be at the Xʷc̓ic̓əsəm Garden, The Indigenous Health Research and Education Garden (IHREG) located at UBC Farm. Transgender healing is innate to ways of being that do not subscribe to colonial mythologies, a way of imagining a future that is of the land – beyond borders of country, gender, where spirits can come together and co-witness our true beingness. We celebrated with this community co-nourishment.
The Garden was a sacred space to know, mourn, recall trans ancestors, through meditation, an open floor to speak to grief, creative healing through collaborative mural and altar creation, expression and profound remembrance of our shared transgender history – which has always been one of the radical claims to self freedom- no matter how quiet, no matter how many times it has been invisibilized- there was a profound feeling in our space that we have always been here and we will always be.
Thank you to love, transformative magic, ancestral healing, remembrance and grief we collectively shared together. It felt good to cry together at our TDOR ceremony. To laugh. And to be with each other. In the serenity of what Eduardo taught us at the Indigenous Garden, we called our names to the land and back… and all the names of lives lost to unthinkable violence. In this grief, we also cherished a profound celebration. All those transcestors who made us possible. Dancing with us. Who shined so we can shine. All those whose courage, revolt, revolution, protest, art, dance created us.
From the roots of ballroom culture in NYC to drag shows in underground venues, much of transgender life has only been able to express itself in full form through these profound moments of collective celebrations, gatherings and creative expression – in the closets of society: its warehouses, its underground, its queered underbelly.
We were grateful to join with the land – to have access to a private and public intimacy – to heal together side by side, out loud, without filters, falseness or need to show up in any way. With deep gratitude from the trans community of the Transgender Expressions Haven, we offer our sincere thank you to Xʷc̓ic̓əsəm Garden and Eduardo.