It won’t be surprising if you’ve not heard of The International Transgender Day of Remembrance, held each year on November 20th. The truth is, that’s probably accurate, to whatever extent, even for those who identify as lesbian, gay and bisexual, and even though the Day of Remembrance began over a decade ago … in 1999..
Here are the basics, via Transgender Day of Remembrance:
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.
It’s the people, the individuals, who we need to know about, of course. A day to remember the transgender persons who are murdered every year is one way of learning to “know” them. A few of those who were murdered in 2012 are listed below. It isn’t unusual that the murders often include more than a “simple” death.
From the Memorializing 2012 page at TDOR:
Location: New Orleans, Louisiana
Cause of Death: severe head trauma …
Guilherme Augusto de Souza
Location: Sumaré, São Paulo, Brazil
Cause of Death: Gunshots (13) …
Agnes Torres Sulca
Location: Atlixco, Puebla, Mexico
Cause of Death: Neck wounds, burned, thrown in a ditch …
Rene ‘Rosita’ Hidalgo
Location: Miami Beach, Florida
Cause of Death: gagged, multiple stab wounds, neck slit …
Location: Krishnagiri, India
Cause of Death: Burned and throat slit. …
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Cause of Death: Gunshot to the face …
Location: Kuruman, South Africa
Cause of Death: throat cut, partial decapitation, genitals stuffed in mouth …
Location: Antalya, Turkey
Cause of Death: throat cut, face slashed.
The list is much longer, of course. And if we had a record which included the names of those whose murders were not recognized or acknowledged to be related to transgender identity, it would be longer yet.
One hugely important piece of context here is simply that transgender persons are discriminated against at higher rates than are gay, lesbian and bisexual persons. Or to put it another, sad sort of way, it’s more “okay” to attack a transgender person than an LGB person, and that shows up in police, media and public attention and responses. And that, of course, is all within the bigger “it’s still more ‘okay’” to attack LGBT persons. Progress is being made, both with lesbian, gay and bisexual, and with transgender persons.
But the simple fact that so many murders of transgender persons remain unsolved, even while so many more occur each year, that’s something any justice-minded person needs to know. Actually, it’s something any caring person wants to know.
The Day of Remembrance, while officially on November 20th, is actually marked in different places for several days before and after. You can find a list of events at TDOR. But a quiet moment or so on November 20th could be a knowing way to care.
(TDOR Candle via Tennessee Equality Project)