Not an Entirely Typical Post – Trans Day of Remembrance 2011

So, yesterday was Trans Day of Remembrance.

There’s a vigil in Ottawa (and in numerous other places) every year, but I’ve never been to one before. Typically, I’ve stayed home, lit up my altars, and blogged about death rates and worried about the sex-working, trans women in my extended phamily because that particular demographic is at really high risk for violence[1].

This year, however, my girlfriend and I went down to the Human Rights Monument and joined the crowd of people quietly trying to light candles in a pretty stiff wind[2]. I saw a lot of familiar faces – doing the reading and in the crowd – and was glad to see a group from POWER among them.

A vigil is a pretty straight-forward thing. In this case, people took turns reading the names of hundreds (hundreds!) of the dead – mostly sex-working women of colour, many with “no name reported” listed where their names should have been – accompanied by a fiddler. The Human Rights Monument wasn’t built with acoustics in mind. Between that, the wind, and the busy road beside us, it was hard to hear everyone’s name, but they read them all.

Now, as you know bob, I’m kind of a bunker when it comes to this stuff. It takes a lot of energy in a place for me to pick up on anything Going On. But something was happening.
The litany of names actually made me think of the invocation where you chant the names of your ancestors, or the many names of The Goddess (for you less polytheistic folks out there) in order to call them/Her in.

My Ghost, who is significantly more sensitive to energetic/spiritual stuff than I am, said she felt drunk afterwards, and hung over this morning.
I’m not surprised. If I started slipping into trance-state[3], I expect it would have hit her — and a few other energy-sensitive folks I know from the wider local Pagan/Heathen/Animist/Polytheist community — like a hammer.

Consequently, I find myself wondering how many people reading this have had similar experiences at similar events.

Drop me a comment and let me know.

Meliad the Birch Maiden

Floating candles, lit.

[1] Although I will point out that the sex-working, trans women in my extended phamily are (a) white, and (b) doing low-mid volume, indoor, GFE escorting and/or porn, rather than, say, street-based survival sex; which means they’re at much lower risk for violence than a lot of other women in that same demographic.

[2] Actual temperature was about 2 degrees celcius, but the wind chill brought it down into sub-zero without any difficulty at all. My Ghost, always one for gallows humour, says to me, deadpan: “It’s Trans Day of Remembrance, the day on-which we gather together to remember those trans people who froze to death at last year’s Trans Day of Remembrance vigil”.

[3] I do that think where you start rocking back and forth — it happens, more often than not, when someone/something needs a door (for lack of a better word) when invited/invoked during ritual.

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