Today is the Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoR). From the International Transgender Day of Remembrance page:
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.
Transgender people are among the population’s most vulnerable, more likely to become victims of violence than any other segment of the LGBT community. The violence is intersectional. Trans women of color are most likely to be targeted, especially if they are poor and undocumented. Headlines like those surrounding the revelations of Michael Phelps’s intersex girlfriend demonstrate widespread transphobic and homophobic attitudes that contribute to so many deaths. I won’t link to them here, but Bustle has a good article on the media’s abysmal coverage of this story.
Perhaps the final assault on the victims memorialized by TDoR is that many died without family and friends who loved them and would properly mourn them. Victims are routinely misgendered in police reports, and transphobic family, if they memorialize them at all, will often do so under the names and genders assigned to them at birth, rather than acknowledging the identities they lived by. TDoR is our attempt to make sure that at least in death, the lost are recognized and accepted for who they were. Unfortunately, for reasons mentioned above, we are often left with little more than a name, sometimes not even that.
Rather than allowing our observance of TDoR to be monopolized by a white masculine-of-center genderqueer, I’m going to give the last word to three transgender women of color interviewed by GLAAD in honor of TDoR.