In honor of the annual, Transgender Day of Remembrance, held this Friday, November 20th, we wanted to share the history of this sad but important day.
The Transgender Day of Remembrance was set aside to memorialize those who were killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice. The event is held in November to honor Rita Hester, whose murder on November 28th, 1998 kicked off the “Remembering Our Dead” web project and a San Francisco candlelight vigil in 1999. Rita Hester’s murder — like most anti-transgender murder cases — has yet to be solved.
Although not every person represented during the Day of Remembrance self-identified as transgender — that is, as a transsexual, crossdresser, or otherwise gender-variant — each was a victim of violence based on bias against transgender people.
We live in times more sensitive than ever to hatred-based violence, especially since the events of September 11th. Yet even now, the deaths of those based on anti-transgender hatred or prejudice are largely ignored. Over the last decade, more than one person per month has died due to transgender-based hate or prejudice, regardless of any other factors in their lives. This trend shows no sign of abating.
The Transgender Day of Remembrance serves several purposes. It raises public awareness of hate crimes against transgender people, an action that current media doesn’t perform. Day of Remembrance publicly mourns and honors the lives of our brothers and sisters who might otherwise be forgotten. Through the vigil, we express love and respect for our people in the face of national indifference and hatred. Day of Remembrance reminds non-transgender people that we are their sons, daughters, parents, friends and lovers. Day of Remembrance gives our allies a chance to step forward with us and stand in vigil, memorializing those of us who’ve died by anti-transgender violence.
Note: This page was taken from http://www.rememberingourdead.org/day/what.html
The Remembering our Dead Web Project and The Transgender Day of Remembrance are owned by Gwendolyn Ann Smith, All Rights Reserved
This year the cycle of violence against transgender and gender non-conforming people claimed at least 16 lives nationally, including:
- Diamond Williams (Philadelphia, PA) who was dismembered, and body parts thrown in a field.
- Eyricka Morgan (New Brunswick, NJ) who was stabbed
- Cemia “CeCe” Dove (Cleveland, OH) who was stabbed, tied with a rope to a block of concrete and thrown in pond.
- Islan Nettles (New York City, NY) who was killed by blunt force trauma
- Domonique Newburn (Fontana, CA) who died of multiple stab wounds
These are only some of the names of those whose murders have been reported, and many more incidences of murder and violence against transgender people go unreported. For more stories of people who have lost their lives to anti-transgender hate violence, visit www.transgenderdor.org.
How can you participate in the Transgender Day of Remembrance?
Participate in the Transgender Day of Remembrance by attending or organizing a vigil on November 20 to honor all those whose lives were lost to anti-transgender violence that year. Vigils are typically hosted by local transgender advocates or LGBT organizations, and held at community centers, parks, places of worship and other venues. The vigil often involves reading a list of the names of those who died that year.
Attend an event
Friday, November 20th, 2015 18:00 (6:00PM)
First Congregational UCC, 415 Juniper Street, Brainerd, MN 56401
Friday, November 20th, 2015 19:00 (7:00PM)
Living Table United Church of Christ, 3805 E 40th Street, Minneapolis, MN 55406
To help in honoring this day, PRIDE Institute counselors have put together some blog posts to share their thoughts on this sad but important day. Below is our first.
PRIDE’s Transgender Day of Remembrance Blog
I remember watching the film Boys Don’t Cry years ago, with the actor Hilary Swank playing the role of Teena Brandon. The movie was based on the true story of Teena; a person whose gender identity did not correspond to their biological sex assigned at birth. Teena’s tragic death at the end of the movie was disheartening and heinous and I remember not knowing how to handle my emotions, feeling guilt bubble up inside of me at the realization/reminder of the privilege I am afforded by identifying as a cisgender, Caucasian, female. At the time, I never realized how much the terrifying struggle of trans-identified people would impact my life. Nor did I realize the importance of being an outspoken Ally on the behalf of the community would be to me.
Today, I continue to identify as a cisgender female. In addition, my identity includes being an Addiction Counselor at PRIDE Institute, where I have the honor of working side-by-side with trans clients on their journey towards Recovery from addictions in all forms. I share in the struggles of clients as they first begin to “come out” and the joy as they experience authenticity for the first time in their lives.
Another part of my identity is as a mother of a trans child. My daughter, Cara, is on the path to becoming a male – the identity that has been right for them since 5 years of age. My heart breaks with the overwhelming prejudice that exists for my child and for all those who have the courage to break society’s barriers and come out. It seems to me, it’s our duty as a society to affirm, advocate and support – not just accept.
I look forward to helping create a more inclusive world. I wish there never had to be a Trans Day of Remembrance. Honoring the memory of those who are gone, either by succumbing to the emotional pain or through the overwhelming number of hate crimes, I am inspired to stand taller, speak out more frequently and do my part in not having to remember any more fallen victims whose only crime is trying to be themselves.
Marsha Partington, PRIDE Institute Counselor – MA, LADC