Saturday, November 20, 2010

2010 Transgendered Day of Remembrance

Well here we are again. Today is the day we have set aside to remember the lives of all our brothers. sisters, parents, and loved ones who have died because of transphobia. Sadly, this year I have a friend of my own to remember this year.....My friend Carina who was my best friend from middle school on took her own life this year due to what she felt were irreconcilable differences between the needs of her family and her need to transition. It is difficult to boil the situation down to just that simple sentence because the reality is so much more complicated...but talking about it..thinking about it has become difficult and neccesary all at once.

Tonight I have been asked by the Sacramento PFLAG group that Carina attended to give a ten minute speech about Who Carina was. I have to hand it to PFLAG, they are the red cross of the gay community. They are almost always there when other services may not be.

 I have to admit. I've known for about two months that this day was coming and had plenty of time to get my thoughts and my words together...but somehow I just could not bring myself to do it until this week. I did not want to venture into those feelings again....and wondering how things might have worked out differently.

I hate public terrifies me. But I know I have to do this...

Even though I didn't want to face the feelings again, I wanted to do it for Carina. First because it was something important to her...not only the subject of transgendered rights and violence...but also because of the community itself which had been a great source of comfort and help for her. They would not have known that they had lost one of their own because it was just to painful for Carina's family to deal with at the time. They are hurting too and tonight will be a way of being able to pay their respects...they deserve that. much of the service wrapped around memorializing David...Carina's given name. No one talked about the name she chose for herself....Carina. We all spent so much time remembering "him" that not one word was given for "her". I did not want Carina to get lost. She made it clear to me in our phone conversations that David was a name that described a person she never felt she an old coat she never liked and was only too happy to give away. At the time, that notion hurt me a bit because I had grown up with and known David...I felt like I was losing him for good. It was not true..but those were my feelings at the time.

I now understand a little bit better that everything that made made up the man I knew as Dave...was Carina and alway had been. No one was lost, only coming through more clearly now I get it. I only wish I had "gotten it" friend might still be here.

So I'm doing this for Carina...because that's who was really with me all these years. Because she was much more than a friend to me...she was a part of my family. And while on one hand its not the name that matters... because she could have taken any name...the name is a way of describing the essence and its that essence that must not be lost because we stubbornly can't let go of the past.

So I have to reopen the wound tonight and face my fears of public speaking because I owe it to her and because maybe it will give some closure or understanding to a community that is still suffering from the same issues that is driving so many gay teens to suicide...outside hatred, becomes inside hatred. So it was with Carina.

On the day when we spread her ashes at sea, I was driving out to the coast on the same road we used to drive so recklessly on in the middle of the night when we were teens. Suddenly on the radio came Erick Clapton's "Knocking on Heavens Door"....I took that as a sign that Carina was reaching out to me. That particular radio station is not known for playing variety but for repeating the same 70's stoner tunes ad nauseum...and I have not heard them play that song since.

We also saw alot of para sailors, which on the sonoma coastline isn't such a rare sight. But right above our memorial sight it felt like another way that "C" was trying to let us know that she was o.k....and I appreciated the message....balanced as it was by seeing her two young sons who look identical to her, spread their fathers ashes in the cold Pacific waters.

But enough of my emo nonsense...wish me luck and go out and tell someone you love them today. And if you know someone transgendered, try and remember that all that makes us who we are has nothing to do with what we see on the outside.

Sincerely, Bryan

Here is the link to the event that I will be speaking at tonight:

If you would like to learn more about this years TDOR ceremonies and events. Please visit:

Last years video taken moments after I was informed of Carina's passing:

Until next time dear readers...


  1. Sigh, I'm fighting the same battle that your friend Carina lost. I know what she went through, before giving up. It's terrible hard to balance personal needs and family needs. This summer I almost lost the battle, but managed to fight back from the edge. And while I live, its a rather muted emotional life, never reaching true happiness any longer.

    My husband said the same exact thing that you did about me, that you said about Carina, that you would lose David for Carina. They are the same same people. Only the outward appearance would be changed, the person within would stay the exact same. Well, not exactly the same, they would be happy, truly happy.

    Finding the delicate balance point to live is very hard to find. I'm still attempting to find my balance. Some days are rough, others are easier, but never ever a day goes by where i'm truly happy.

    I hope you did ok on your speech tonight. My thoughts are with you.

  2. Bryan,

    You honor Carina with your story and bring light to the struggles transgender people face. I'm sorry for you having to relive your deep loss. It is valuable however.

    Thank you for sharing and speaking about this.


  3. Hey Bryan Im sorry about your friend Carina....
    If you hate public speaking so much why is that you are the one that seem to do all these speeches? :-) I never seem to see u show fear when delivering these speeches... so kudos to you Bryan... I would of thought speeches would have been Jays fortay
    and one he would loved to do... just my impression
    Take Care
    Stay strong