Transgender Day of Remembrance 2016

Kathryn Gonzales, our Operations and Programs Director delivered a powerfully emotional speech at tonight's Transgender Day of Remembrance.

A full transcript of her speech is available below.

- - -

Hello, my name is Kathryn Gonzales and I am the Operations & Programs Director at Out Youth.
On behalf of the youth, board of directors, and staff of Out Youth, I want to express how humbled and honored we are to support this year’s Transgender Day of Remembrance.

Out Youth was founded in 1990 and has served youth of all sexual orientations and gender identities across Central Texas for 26 years. Out Youth is best known for our free individual and family counseling as well as our free and confidential HIV & STI testing, but what we do best is offer youth a place that they can feel at home, a place of warmth and peace. And, by extension, our youth become part of a family that loves, acknowledges, and accepts them for exactly who they are.

As this night approached again this year, I was reminded yet again of my desperate wish, a hope for a day when there are no names on the list.

Yet each year I arrive and sit here, awash in names and grief.

Certainly, I grieve for the loss of those we honor tonight, taken from us by horrific acts of violence.

But I also find myself grieving for the want of memory.

I grieve because I cannot remember them, for all I have been left with are their names and the reverberating silence of their absence.

I grieve because I will never delight in knowing them, at least in this lifetime. I will never know their kindness, their compassion, the unique and captivating beauty of their souls.

And while I may never meet them, I am certain of my love for them. Each and every one. All of those we have lost in years past, and those we seem all but certain lose in the years to come.

So let this be my vow, that my grief will stand as a testament to their lives, a renewed commitment to end this violence, for as long as I am here I will love them and work in honor of their memory in hopes for a day without names.