We have made it through a high-stakes, and deeply polarized election season. Even folks who don’t engage in electoral politics much have felt the building tension among our communities. Our President and Vice President elect have been projected and announced, and even though there may be ongoing vote counting process and legal wrangling, change appears to be just around the corner. There were many big wins for representation, most noticeably, a glass ceiling has shattered with the selection, campaign, and victory of Vice President elect, Senator Kamala Harris.

Election season also brought exciting wins for LGBTQ candidates nationwide. Delaware elected Sarah McBride as state senator. Torrey Harris and Eddie Mannis were elected to serve in the Tennessee State Legislature. Taylor Small won a seat Vermont House of Representatives, and Stephanie Byers in Kansas. Kim Jackson and Sam Park in Georgia, along with Ritchie Torres and Mondaire Jones of New York, round out the list of LGBTQ officials elected in 2020. Representation matters and these are important wins. 
This November includes Transgender Awareness Week, a time to learn, build community, and rededicate ourselves to the work of establishing safety, support, and justice for transgender and gender creative people. Why not take this moment to connect remotely and brighten someone’s day by writing a love letter to a transgender community member from the Transgender Law Center? Then go deeper with PFLAG’s wonderful reading list of books by gender diverse authors or celebrating transgender lives.

Transgender Awareness Week culminates with Trans Day of Remembrance on November 20. In the past, Baltimore has observed TDOR with an annual ceremony at First Unitarian Church, including a reading of the names of those lost to transphobic violence within the past year. In more recent years, the service has been joined by the Trans March of Resilience through Charles Village, with a rally, a banquet, and a dance party to follow at Space 2640.

This year will be different due to the risk of COVID-19, but robust plans are developing to mark this important day. TDOR starts with a “tweetstorm” beginning at 9 a.m., use the handle @tdorbaltimore to participate. Two physical events are being hosted by Baltimore Safe Haven. These include a 3 p.m. march from the YNot Lot (corner of North and Charles Streets) to City Hall, where speakers and the reading of the names will take place outdoors. The evening of November 20 concludes with a House Ball, featuring cash prizes, streaming on the Bigo platform from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Many families are making difficult choices right now about whether and how to spend Thanksgiving and the winter holidays together in person. The epidemiology forecast is grim as we head into the winter season on the crest of the novel coronavirus’ “Third Wave.” As a health care provider we advise you to stay with virtual holiday visits, for the maximum safety for your family members and the larger impact of community viral spread. If you do travel for the holidays, take thoughtful steps to make the journey as safe as possible.

As the days turn colder and darkness comes early, take some time to get cozy in your spirit and your home. Accept the things that we cannot change, while looking for paths to stay connected and support one another. We miss our community, but we know that staying physically distant is an act of love and care. Stay well, Community