Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Transgender Day of Remembrance

Today is the 2013 Transgender Day of Remembrance, an annual event devoted to victims of deadly transphobic violence. The Transgender Day of Remembrance is held every November in honor of Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was murdered on November 28th, 1998 and whose death inspired the "Remembering Our Dead" web project. The event follows this year's Transgender Awareness Week, which ran from November 11-17, raising awareness of transgender and gender-nonconforming people.

I just got back from a Transgender Day of Remembrance vigil on the steps of the capitol building in Harrisburg, PA. As Silent Witness Peacekeepers stood watch, voices from TransCentral PA, Equality Pennsylvania, and the LGBT Community Center of Central Pennsylvania spoke about transphobic hate crimes and transgender suicide. As a Unitarian Universalist clergyman delivered the closing prayer, the crowd mourned those who had passed. The vigil is an annual reminder that for transgender hate crime victims, and for those who take their own lives after facing unrelenting rejection and persecution, bigotry has deadly consequences.

Transphobia is an ugly reality in our society, and we need to end it. We need to speak out against transphobic hate crimes and discrimination. We need to speak out against far-right attacks on hard-won transgender rights. We need to affirm our transgender neighbors as human beings and equal citizens under the law. We need to work toward a society in which people of all gender identities can live full lives. The world has made progress, but the struggle is not over.

For more information on the Transgender Day of Remembrance, click here and here. For more information on transphobia in the U.S., check out the following resources. 

Taking It On the Chin: New Fast Facts About Violence Against Transgender People  

2012 Report on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and HIV-Affected Hate Violence

Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey

Transgender Students in U.S. Schools

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