MY FAVORITE FILMS OF 2014 by Mari Walker

Big Hero 6

Birdman 

Boyhood

Captain America: Winter Soldier

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Edge of Tomorrow

Enemy

Feast (short) 

Jodorowsky’s Dune

The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness

The Lego Movie

Nightcrawler

Selma

Snowpiercer

The Tale of Princess Kaguya

Whiplash

TRANSGENDER DAY OF REMEMBRANCE 2014 by Mari Walker

Jennifer Laude never went anywhere without being fully made up. Her sister Michelle would joke that “she would start getting ready at 1 p.m. At 5 p.m., you would still be waiting for her.” To compliment her external beauty, she always insisted on being poised and gracious when dealing with people. Her older sister Marilou praised Jennifer for being “very kind and generous. Whenever she visited my house, she always had gifts for my kids.”

Her fiancee, Marc Sueselbeck, was immediately charmed when they first met through online dating: “…She was just herself. She would not pretend. She was sincere. If she said something, you could rely on that. She was a worthy person because of that.” When he proposed to her in the jewelry section at a busy mall, she told him, “Next time you do that, tell me so I can dress up!”

The last time her mother spoke to her, Jennifer’s final words were “always remember that I love you.”

Jennifer Laude was 26 when she was found lifeless, propped up against a toilet in the Philippines. She showed signs of strangulation and asphyxiation by drowning. A U.S. Marine murdered her on October 11th, 2014.

Aniya Parkers final moments of life were on the night of October 2nd, after she was assaulted by two men on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles. As she was running away from a group of men, one of the men pulled out a gun and shot her in the back of the head. She stumbled across the street before collapsing on the sidewalk. Aniya died in the hospital a few hours later. Her family described her as someone who could always make you laugh, even when she wasn’t trying.

Betty Skinner was resting in her bed at the Deaconess-Krafft Center senior complex in Cleveland when she died from blunt force trauma to the head. Residents at the senior complex described Mary as friendly and outgoing - despite struggling with a heavy speech impediment and being confined to a wheelchair. Physically disabled and requiring assisted living at 52, she had only legally changed her name 12 years ago. She was one of three deaths this year in the Cleveland trans community. Jake Nash, a trans advocate, expressed the fears within the community, “[The transgender community] is overwhelmed and scared and some people even told me they are afraid of going out of their homes because they don’t know what is going on.”

Calvin Curtis Lipscomb’s charred remains were found in a trash can in Detroit. Her body was burned so badly she could not be identified for 11 days. Before she was burned to death, her assailant shot her with a shotgun.

Today is the Transgender Day of Remembrance. Trans women made up 67 percent of anti-LGBT homicides last year. I will not forget any of the over 200 women who identified as trans who died from violence (so far) in 2014. I will not forget those of us who have committed and attempted suicide - a staggering 40% of us in the community have done so. I will not forget the vastly overwhelming violence against trans women of color (trans people of color are targeted twice as much as caucasian trans people). I will not forget those who died this year, still struggling to come to terms with their identity - or who lived in a place where it was necessary to hide it.

They all deserved to live in a better, kinder world. I plan on doing everything in my power to make it one.

*REPRINTED FROM MY FACEBOOK ACCOUNT (NOVEMBER 20TH, 2014)

ROBIN WILLIAMS by Mari Walker

It's important to remember that depression can affect anyone - from the homeless man who lives on the bench you pass every morning to the famous celebrity who "seems to have it all". It is an epidemic that crosses borders, age, genders, cultures, races and classes. 

An estimated 125 MILLION people across the world are currently suffering from depression.

For many, it's an incurable illness. It's not something that can just go away. It can't be solved by "snapping out of it" or "exercising" or "changing something in your life - anything!"

Depression haunts you morning 'till night - a dark specter that follows close behind until it closes in on its 'prey' and eats you from the inside out. Many times, it feels impossible to live with...

Tell the people in your lives that you love them. Let them know they are of value - and if you are suffering from this horrific, debilitating illness tell someone. Seek help. Don't feel ashamed. If you are feeling suicidal, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

*REPRINTED FROM MY FACEBOOK ACCOUNT (AUGUST 11TH, 2014)

TO GOOGLE by Mari Walker

Dear Google,

Please explain to me why this photo appeared when I searched for "space suit drawings".

Best,

Mari Walker

*REPRINTED FROM MY FACEBOOK ACCOUNT (JULY 16TH, 2014)

LA PRIDE by Mari Walker

The LA Pride parade last year (June 9th, 2013) marked my first full day as Mari in public. I was nervous, twitchy, horribly self-conscious - and sweating buckets under a strong layer of foundation that didn't match my skin color, a long black wig and a grey beanie... none of which is ideal when you're walking around for six hours in 90 degree weather! I probably didn't pass and my makeup was a mess by the end of the night but none of that mattered - I had never felt more free in my life.

Without my two friends in this drawing, Lara Noel and Kyla Stallman, I wouldn't have had the courage to step out my front door that day. I'm so lucky to have such amazing and wonderful friends who support and accept me. I hope everyone who reads this remembers that no matter who you are or who you love, you are a person of value and deserve happiness!

*REPRINTED FROM MY FACEBOOK ACCOUNT (JUNE 8TH, 2014)