Reflections on Transgender Day of Remembrance in the city.

Emma Rylands November 20, 2019

Emma Rylands, Gscene contributor, activist and member of Rainbow Chorus +, spoke at the Dorset Gardens TDOR service on Sunday 17th November.

The Gscene team asked Emma to share what she had said at the Dorset Gardens TDOR event.  She spoke along with other community activists and people who have been working with Trans and Non-Binary communities in the city. We share Emma’s words  with some photo’s from both the remembrance and celebration events from last weekend.

Emma said:

“Two years ago, I attended my first ever trans remembrance event, at this very place. I had only just started living my life as my true self, and after 42 years of feeling like a stranger in my own body, I was finally starting to enjoy being me.

I sat here, with tears in my eyes, and I  listened to everyone. It was a very moving occasion and when the time came to pick up a card (bearing the name of someone who had died in the previous year)  and stick it on the wall I joined the queue.

I will always remember what the card said.


How can someone who has been killed just for being themselves be unknown.

Are they not someone’s child, someone’s sibling, someone’s parent or someone’s partner?

Were they unknown because they were so brutally beaten to death, that no-one could recognise them?

Or maybe, their family threw them out for being trans and they were homeless when they were murdered.

We will  never know because they are unknown.

I left that day and spent a whole week at home feeling afraid and vulnerable. I could not go out because I was scared.

I thought that maybe living my life as my true self and being me was not such a good idea.

Was it worth it?

Is it worth being me and risking my life. I thought I would be happier when I decided to transition but what if people were going to hate me simply for being who I am.

I spent the rest of the year being quiet. I thought if I didn’t draw any attention to myself I could get by and no-one would bother me. I didn’t want to be a name on a card.

Last year I was here again. I was afraid that I would break down and end up even more depressed than I already was.

But something changed.

I picked up a card and placed it on the wall. I looked at the name and said  ‘you died for being you’

You were killed for living your life. You were not afraid to be who you are.”


“I should honour you and respect you by carrying on.

I will do my best to live my life and be who I am. I will not be afraid.

I will not be silenced.

I will live every day thinking of you. Your life was cut short so I must live for you as well.

There will always be people who hate us. And there will always be people who will harm us.

We will be attacked and we will be abused.

But we must not stop.”

“We must carry on and we must live our lives to the fullest. Let’s go out there and show them that we are here. We have always been here and we will always be here.

For every person that hates you, there are hundreds that love you and will look after you. We are very lucky to have allies who will always be by our side.

Don’t waste your time replying to Facebook or Twitter posts. Use that time to go out and live your life.

And always honour and remember those that are not here today. They would have wanted us to live and be happy.

All the people that we are  remembering and honouring today, every day, and every year, were killed because they were visible.

Let us help them rest in power by being visible. Being loud. Being happy. Being unique. And Being ourselves.

Thank you.”