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
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.
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)
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