Today is November 20th, the Transgender Day of Remembrance. This year in particular has been deadly for the transgender community, but also hold some small victories. This day grew from Rita Hester, a member of the LGBTQ+ community in Boston who worked on educating the masses in matters related to trans people. She was killed in her own home on November 28th 1998, and even 22 years later, her murder has not been solved or closed.
On the first anniversary of her death, a trans advocate Gwendolyn Smith organized a vigil to commemorate her life and all those who have been subjected to violence since her death. This vigil is now known as Transgender Day of Remembrance.
“When the Transgender Day of Remembrance first began, trans people were nameless victims in many cases. Our killers would do their best to erase our existence from the world. And law enforcement, the media, and others would continue the job,” Smith said.
In this year alone, at least 34 transgender people have been murdered violently in the US. This number is likely higher, since in police reports the genders are often mislabeled and the information of this being a trans murder is delayed. Most of these victims, just like Hester, are black transgender women living among the racist, homophobic, and transphobic. 79% of LGBTQ+ people murdered are people of color, and 68% are transgender or gender non-conforming. 61% of these transgender were women of color.
As you read this list of names, think about educating yourself for the betterment of the trans community. With your help, we can make this world a safer, more welcoming place for our trans communities.
Dustin Parker, 25
Neulisa Luciano Ruiz
Yampi Méndez Arocho, 19
Monika Diamond, 34
Penélope Díaz Ramírez, 31
Serena Angelique Velázquez Ramos, 32
Nina Pop, 28
Helle Jae O’Regan, 20
Tony McDade, 38
Jayne Thompson, 33
Selena Reyes-Hernandez, 37