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Transgender Day of Remembrance commemorated

Published Nov 28, 2010 9:52 PM

Transgender Day of Remembrance was marked Nov. 20 and the preceding week by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people and their allies in the U.S. and around the world. The day commemorates and honors the many transgender people who have been killed because their gender expression did not conform to a bigoted society’s expectations.

At Michigan State University a series of activities, including film showings and an art exhibit, took place Nov. 16-20 to commemorate TDOR. An outdoor candlelight vigil and reflection on the lives lost due to gender-based violence, sponsored by Transaction, the LBGT Resource Center and Edgewood United Church of Christ, was held the evening of Nov. 19. Names of the dead and their manner of death were somberly read. Short, heartfelt speeches followed in the cold night.

It is important, one of the speakers noted, that LGBTQ communities continue to struggle alongside their allies for full rights, equality and respect for all LGBTQ people, so that these types of memorials can become a thing of the past.

TDOR is held in November to honor Rita Hester, whose murder on Nov. 28, 1998, was the impetus for the “Remembering Our Dead” Web project and a San Francisco candlelight vigil in 1999. Like most murder cases of transgender people, Hester’s murder has yet to be solved. (rememberingourdead.org)

According to Roslyn Manley, 100 transgender deaths were recorded in the U.S. in 2009: “These include only those who are known ... by direct community reporting or newspaper accounts. There are undoubtedly more. Years ago, researcher Kay Brown calculated the transgender murder rate to be 16 times that of the general population and three times that of African-American men, the next closest group.” (ucccoalition.org)