Day of Remembrance

2008
Patrick Murphy - Fedra - Adolphus Simmons - Ashley Sweeney
Shanesha Stewart - Lawrence King - Cameron McWilliams
Simmie Williams, Jr - Luna - Felicia Melton-Smyth - Ebony Whitaker
Rosa Pazos - Angie Zapata - Samantha Rangel Brandau - Ruby Molina
Aimee Wilcoxson - Duanna Johnson - Dilek Ince - Teish Cannon - Ali
...and those whose names we'll never know...


It all started when I saw the newspaper headline. Though it wasn't particularly obvious pressed to the side of the open page the yellow highlighter marks made it so. I read it aloud and wondered why such an article might be important.

"Unidentified gay youth beaten, lies in coma."

Lifting the paper from the coffee table I folded it and examined it closer. There was a small picture beside it of the bandaged remains of what I could only assume was a teenage boy. I was compelled to read on.

"A local youth was admitted to Milestone County Hospital in a comatose state after a brutal beating in King's Square on Tuesday night. The boy was discovered bloody and unconscious by a Samaritan and was wearing articles of women's clothing. Police have been unable to identify the youth and request the assistance of the general public in this matter."

"At first we thought it was you." His voice appeared from nowhere and nearly made me jump out of my skin. I turned to see him standing there at the doorway smiling sheepishly. "Sorry. I didn't mean to startle you."

I grinned back and strolled casually to his side. "I'm a superhero, dad. You really think I don't know how to take care of myself?"

"Your brother was a superhero too," he mused sadly and stared vacantly out of the dark window across the living room.

It wasn't as though I could blame him for worrying: to him and the world I'd disappeared without a trace for a month along with my best friend. There was no way he could have known that we were relatively safe one thousand years in the future, and even since I'd returned I hadn't divulged the full story.

The date on the newspaper caught my eye. "This is nearly two weeks old."

"We had to keep looking. It was either that or wait for the police to call. There was no way we could do that." He sighed deeply and lifted his hot mug of coffee to his lips. "You know how your mother hates feeling helpless. It's why she-"

"Yeah," I injected. He didn't need to finish that sentence. It was hard enough coming back to see what my home had become. I was desperate for a change of subject and found it again in the newspaper article. "Did they find out who he was?"

"Yeah," he replied vaguely.

"And?"

"Her mom came forward. It turns out that her name is Vivian and she's just like you. She's a..." He struggled to say the word. "You know."

"She's a what?"

"Transexual," he said emphatically, as if to prove he could. "Like you, a boy who thinks he's a girl and who chooses to live that way."

I began to ramble feverishly. "Dad, I'm not a boy, and she's not a boy, and... I'm not even a proper transexual! It's not like I was born this way!"

"Look, I know." He bowed his head apologetically and took another long sip of his coffee. "You'll have to forgive me for not knowing all of the terminology. That T.A.S.K. counselor, Smith, left me some books, but..."

He coughed, tried to clear his throat and swallow a hard lump of congealed emotion. Even though my mom was the fiercer of the two I knew that he didn't like to appear weak either.

I looked up to my dad and threw my arms around his waist. "It's okay. You're doing an amazing job. If anything I should feel lucky that you haven't given up and shipped me off to one of Striker's training camps."

He chuckled. "I could never give you up, kiddo. Even after all that's happened you're still too damn special. I just worry about you is all. It's like when you go out into the world there's a target painted on your back."

"Dad, again, I'm a superhero. I know how to handle bad guys."

"It's not just them," he pleaded. "Glimmer Girl can take care of herself, but what about those lowlifes that hate you without the mask, just because you're different?"

"Dad..."

"I don't want you to end up like that girl in the paper, and neither does your mom. That's why we were both so against all of this at first."

Suddenly parental guilt weighed heavily on me. "I know."

He pulled away and took another long sip at his coffee. It was good to know that it could comfort him in a way I never could. (Thank you, caffeinated gods.)

Staring at the newspaper I was overcome with the need to be elsewhere, Milestone County Hospital in particular. Call it curiosity, call it whatever, something about this girl struck a chord with me and no matter how hard I tried I couldn't let it go.

"Listen, uh... dad. Is there any chance I could maybe, I don't know, go out and do my Glimmer Girl thing for a while?"

He stared at me flatly. "Is there any way I can actually stop you?"

"No, I guess not."

Grabbing my shoulder and squeezing it affectionately he gave me a resigned smile. "Alright, kiddo. If I can't trust you to take care of yourself by now then there's no hope for any of us."

"Thanks, dad." Before he could say another word I pounced forward for a goodbye hug and was out the door. A part of me felt guilty for leaving him all alone with only a cup of coffee for company, but he said it himself: sometimes it was just too painful to sit around and do nothing.

As I practically flew out the door I saw his attention drawn back into the discarded newspaper from the front window. He examined every word for some kind of deeper meaning that might make sense of such brutality. All he could do was thank god that it wasn't his daughter they were writing about, but it certainly didn't put his fears to rest.

I turned and flew away on a beam of light to a place where I felt needed. A handful of words on a page which meant so little to many suddenly struck me very close to home. Soaring through the sky I made a silent vow, that so long as I could help it nobody else would be robbed of someone they loved.

* * * *

This has been a part of the 2008 Transgender Day of Remembrance Webcomics Project.

November 20th marks the 2008 Transgender Day of Remembrance, a day in which we remember, honour and mourn those whose lives have been brutally taken from them simply for being transgendered. Sadly, though even one life lost is a great tragedy, this happens far more frequently than it ever should.

So please, spare a moment as we remember our dead, together.

a denizen's entertainment - Between the Lines - Eternity
Inner Children - Katie Lynne Sapphe the Webcomic - Misfile
Mundane Circus - Out of Phase Tomboy - Second Stage - Shimmer
Tales of the Galli - Toby - Venus Envy - A Wish for Wings & Closetspace

2008 Jenn Dolari - portions 2008 Gwendolyn Ann Smith, used with permission.
Images on these pages individually copyrighted, not for reproduction without permission.  Copyright owners have
given permission for their art to be used at any and all Day of Remembrance related vigils