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Earline Budd on the Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoR) 2015


To My Young Transgender Sisters,

I honor those we have lost and those elders in the community who have paved the way for all transgender people.  As a transgender woman who has been blessed to see 57 years of life, I send a message of hope and love to all young transgender women of color. On this day that reminds us all of how fragile and tragic life can be for folks like us who live our truth unapologetically, I call on you to love yourself with no limits or constraints.  Despite what society, religion or even your family may say—you are right to exist and authenticity has NEVER been a sin.

The struggles have been hard for me as a Black transgender woman, but I learned that to overcome the shadows of darkness that so often inhabits our lives— I had to find my way into places where we had not been traditionally welcomed.  As someone who knows what it is to be homeless, a substance abuser, returning citizen and HIV Positive, I believe with everything in me that there is still hope! 

On this Transgender Day of Remembrance, we lift up the spirits of all those who have lost their lives to violence, and also embrace those who have survived. We honor the long list of transgender trailblazers who have passed on, but will never be forgotten. To the next generation, who will in fact lead this nation, know that you are powerful and that no matter what you encounter in life, you are loved.  Your light will always shine!

The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) is a civil rights organization dedicated to the empowerment of Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and same gender loving (LGBTQ/SGL) people, including people living with HIV/AIDS.