"Let Us Live"

22 November 2021



Poem (Let Us Live)

I’m tired of abstraction.
No one says what they mean
and people die from it.
Where did this world come from?
Not nowhere.
Not nothing.
The dead trans women
you glance over
for a few seconds on facebook
while deciding if the story is worth sharing
all came from somewhere.
Their bodies are not flowers
for you to whisper
to people you’ll never know.
There were words that did this.
There were hands
and guns
and teeth
and flesh
and hair
and blood
and men
and women
and laws
and policies
and police
and witnesses
that did this.
How long can I keep tricking you
into thinking what I’m doing
is poetry
and not me begging you
             to let us live?

Joshua Jennifer Espinoza, in PEN America



November 20 is the Trans Day of Remembrance. We remember and honour the trans, two-spirit, non-binary, and non-gender-conforming people who were killed because of transphobic hatred. In 2020 in the United States, at least 44 trans or gender non-conforming people were murdered - these numbers are always qualified because trans murders often go unreported. Across the world, at least 350 trans people were killed. To date in 2021, at least 46 trans or gender non-confirming people have been killed in the U.S., making this the most violent year on record. The majority of victims are racialized. 

But these are not just numbers. These are people who, like Joshua Jennifer Espinoza, ask to live, and more than that, to thrive. We stand in solidarity with these efforts and we will continue to engage in research, teaching, and training that seeks to raze the power structures that enable transphobia, transmisogyny, and transmisogynoir. In this week of trans remembrance, we ask that everyone take the time to engage with the names and stories of those who have been disappeared and to reflect on how we all might incorporate trans-and-gender-affirming efforts into our life and work.