By: Emily Scagel/TRT Assistant Editor–
The Metropolitan Community Church of Boston is hosting Boston’s first Transgender Day of Celebration, a day complementary to Transgender Day of Remembrance that publicly celebrates transgender lives.
“Transgender Day of Celebration is an opportunity for trans people and all who love them to come together and celebrate,” said Rev. Jamez Terry, pastoral leader of MCC Boston. “We celebrate our own trans lives, and we celebrate the trans people whose lives have touched ours.” [pullquote]“So why Boston? Because we’re here. Because being trans can be challenging, but it can also be a phenomenal blessing. Because there is a large, vibrant trans community in this city.[/pullquote]
Terry, with enthusiastic support from the Worship Committee of MCC Boston, suggested the event to be held in Boston, he said.
“This is not actually the first TDOC ever to take place, though it is among the first and is certainly the first in Boston,” Terry explained. “So why Boston? Because we’re here. Because being trans can be challenging, but it can also be a phenomenal blessing. Because there is a large, vibrant trans community in this city. Because we are a community that knows how to celebrate life. And because it is time that we celebrate all lives! This is an idea whose time has come, or as one commenter wrote on the Facebook event page, ‘This is so overdue.’”
This event differs from Trans Day of Remembrance, as it does not focus only on violence and mourning, Terry added. Trans Day of Celebration brings the community together for a different purpose — celebrating lives.
“While many of us suffer severely from oppression of many sorts, our lives can not and should not be reduced to that dimension,” said Terry. “TDOC is partly about taking back the public narrative, reminding ourselves and each other that we are alive, that we are multi-dimensional people, and that we have much to celebrate.”
Kara Suffredini, executive director of MassEquality, agreed that there is more to the community than the focus on struggles.
“In our Commonwealth’s journey to adopt vital safeguards for transgender youth, adults and families … much of the spotlight has been on the struggles and challenges transgender people face in absence of statewide protections,” Suffredini said. “But our Commonwealth’s transgender community is also strong, beautiful, resilient and full of inspiring success stories.”
She added that MassEquality is excited and supportive of this upcoming celebration and the visibility that it will bring to the contributions of transgender community members.
Bet Power, executive director and curator for the Sexual Minorities Archives, stated that he hopes an annual Trans Day of Celebration will begin in Western Massachusetts as well.
Power lamented the premise of Trans Day of Remembrance, stating “I have long felt uncomfortable with merely gathering once a year to read names of murdered trans people and tell details about how they were brutally killed, and nothing more, as if we are only bodies.”
It is necessary to celebrate lives, he explained, adding that it is about time there was a day of celebration.
“We are alive, vibrant and interesting people. The LGBTQI community and our allies, and especially the general public, need to hear the truth about our lives and see us as who we are,” said Power. “It is so important to counter stereotypes about us — the awful stigma of mental illness, victimhood and otherness that is put upon us. By celebrating our lives, we reject oppression and discrimination.”
TDOC will be held May 19th at MCC Boston and will include a Trans Family Picnic, interfaith service, and a multi-genre performance. For more information, visit www.mccboston.org.