Today is the annual international Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR), dedicated to the memory of those whose lives have been lost because they are transgender.
According to Freedom for All Americans, this year, there are at least 25 reported cases in the U.S. alone of transgender people who have been murdered.
Transgender Day of Remembrance is observed in late November in recognition of the 1998 murder of Rita Hester. Rita was a highly visible member of the transgender community in her native Boston, MA where she worked locally on education around transgender issues.
On Saturday, Nov. 28, Rita was stabbed 20 times in her apartment. A neighbor called the police, and Rita was rushed to the hospital. She passed away from cardiac arrest only moments after being admitted. Almost two decades later, police still have not found Rita’s murderer (or murderers). In 1999, one year after Rita’s murder, advocate and writer Gwendolyn Ann Smith coordinated a vigil in Rita’s honor. The vigil commemorated not only Rita, but all who were tragically lost to anti-transgender violence.
In addition to the vigil, Smith launched the Transgender Day of Remembrance website to recognize and remember those whose lives have been lost to anti-transgender violence. Organizations throughout the world — from Groupe Activiste Trans in Paris to Human Rights Commission of Tel Aviv in Israel to Diritti in Movimiento in Pescara, Italy — have since taken to recognizing the day. Media coverage of Transgender Day of Remembrance often includes documenting lives lost to violence, as well as expounding on the all too frequent harassment, discrimination, and disenfranchisement transgender people experience on a regular basis.
Matt McTighe, executive director of Freedom for All Americans, released the following statement in observance of the Transgender Day of Remembrance:
“Today, we remember and honor the memory of transgender people around the world who have lost their lives to violence. In particular, transgender women of color face rampant rates of violence and disproportionate rates of discrimination, poverty, and unemployment, simply for being who they are. …… We are keeping in our thoughts all those who have lost their lives because of hatred.”
Violence toward the Transgender Community
The 2014 Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and HIV-affected Hate Violence Report from the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Projects shows that, of the victims murdered, 80% were people of color, 55% were transgender women, and 50% were transgender women of color. Transgender women survivors of hate violence were also more likely to experience police violence, physical violence, discrimination, harassment, sexual violence, threats, and intimidation compared to those who were not transgender women. Findings from the ‘Injustice at Every Turn’ report conducted by the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) and the National LGBTQ Task Force showed alarming rates of violence and harassment experienced by the more than 6,000 transgender respondents across a variety of contexts, including educational settings, at work, in interactions with police and with family members, at homeless shelters, accessing public accommodations, and in jails and prisons. As murders of transgender people often go unreported, and the identity of transgender murder victims is often misreported, there is no way to know accurate numbers.
This ongoing and rising epidemic of violence committed against transgender and gender non-conforming people continues to climb and claim the lives of too many each year in the United States and across the globe. Many more incidences of murder and violence against transgender people go unreported, sometimes due to misgendering of the victim. For more stories of people who have lost their lives to anti-transgender hate violence, visit www.tdor.info.
Wearing my hat as the Executive Director for The African Human Rights Coalition, today gives me extra cause for concern for trans people in the United States and globally. Instead of moving in a positive and proactive direction toward curbing violence against trans people, I fear this year’s choice of U.S. Presidential candidate and his running mate will serve to exacerbate the climate of violence against trans people. The U.S.A. in entering this era of certain regression will have an impact not only in the US., but globally too. The Election of Trump and Pence has already served to embolden hate crimes. I have no doubt that the most marginalized in our LGBTI communities will be suffering the brunt of the hateful rhetoric and the unfortunate reality of legislation than may follow in its wake.
It is for this reason that I have decided to attend a an Anti Trump protest with my Trans remembrance sign today, rather than a Remembrance Day Event.
A list of those murdered in 2016 in the name of trans hate can be found HERE:
D.S. Barros (21 years old)
Cause of death: 30 stab wounds over entire body Location of death: Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil
Date of death: March 23th, 2016
M. Moreira (16 years old)
Cause of death: head trauma
Location of death: Sinop, Mato Grosso, Brazil
Date of death: March 20th, 2016
Malu (30 years old)
Cause of death: unknown
Location of death: Maracanaú, Ceará, Brazil
Date of death: March 11th, 2016
Maya Young (25 years old)
Cause of death: stabbing
Location of death: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Date of death: February 20th, 2016
Kendarie/Kandicee Johnson (16 years old)
Cause of death: Gunshot
Location of death: Burlington, Iowa
Date of death: March 2nd, 2016
Keyonna Blakeney (22 years old)
Cause of death: upper body trauma
Location of death: Rockville, Maryland, USA
Date of death: May 1st, 2016
Tyreece “Reecey” Walker (32 years old)
Cause of death: multiple stab wounds
Location of death: Wichita, Kansas, USA
Date of death: May 1st, 2016
Mercedes Successful (32 years old)
Cause of death: gunshot
Location of death: Haines City, Florida, USA
Date of death: May 15th, 2016
Amos Beede (38 years old)
Cause of death: beaten to death
Location of death: Burlington, Vermont
Date of death: May 22nd, 2016
Devin Diamond (22 years old)
Cause of death: blunt force trauma, set on fire
Location of death: New Orleans, Louisiana
Date of death: June 5th, 2016
Deeniquia Dodds (22 years old)
Cause of death: shot
Location of death: Washington D.C., USA
Date of death: July 4th, 2016