238 Names

tw: murder

Good morning, dear readers.

My name is dualitea. Although I come to you today excited to have joined the Tenure, She Wrote Team, and am enjoying a nice warm cup of tea while the snow continues to pile up outside, I have a heavy weight on my mind.

Back in November, I attended my university’s recognition of the Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR). It is the only day where people the world over recognize people like me. It is a somber day, set aside to remember and honor trans people who had been murdered over the past year, the majority of whom are trans women of color. 2013’s TDOR marked the closest to home it ever has, as I knew two of 238 the people killed, have many friends who know a third, and have a book on my bookshelf authored by a trans woman who committed suicide earlier this year.

As we moved away from TDOR and into the holiday season, the beauty of snow and the joy of seeing loved ones began to overshadow the reminder of pain. That is, until the first few weeks of December when I learned that another woman I knew was murdered. Her killer had broken into her home and beaten her to death. The day afterwards, a woman from the same city was found shot dead in her car.

I don’t really know how to talk about all of this, especially with my colleagues. Their world feels so far removed from mine, so safe and secure. Our university’s policy on mourning only allows time off for immediate family, leaving me with precious little time to cope with the loss of my friends.

I’ve found my career taking me to different cities every few years, as so many academics do. There are so few people like me in my field that I always reach out to the local community for support, for friendship, for understanding. As I continue working towards being a successful scientist, I’m going to meet more and more people and the number of those on the TDOR list that I’ve met is most going to grow. Here’s hoping that I can find the courage to let my colleagues know of this weight on my mind, and that they have the compassion to listen.

– dualitea

7 thoughts on “238 Names

  1. Hang in there. There are very few of us, but numbers are ever so slowly growing. Having good support networks is so important. What’s worked well for me so far is building strong networks outside of my institution.

    • Thank you. I know that I wouldn’t still be in the field if it wasn’t for support that I found outside, particularly when it comes to things like this. And yet, by having close friends and chosen family outside of academia, it sometimes makes me feel like even more of an outcast. Given how tight-knit and insular (and so very straight, cis, & male) my field tends to be, I’ve found that the I need to live a double life.

  2. Pingback: Where are my sisters? Isolation and achievement in Academia | Tenure, She Wrote

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