In memoriam of those lost to transgender related violence, LGBTQ+ organizations and advocates around the world observed the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance on Nov. 20.
In 2014 the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs received reports of 1,359 incidents of hate violence from lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, plus and HIV-affected survivors. According to the same report by NCAVP, 55 percent of victims were transgender women and 50 percent of homicide victims were transgender women of color.
The Transgender Day of Remembrance was initially created by transgender advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith as a vigil in honor of a transgender woman, Rita Hester, who was killed in November, 1998. The day has become an annual memorial to commemorate all victims who were lost due to hate violence throughout the year.
“Through the vigil, we express love and respect for our people in the face of national indifference and hatred. Day of Remembrance reminds non-transgender people that we are their sons, daughters, parents, friends and lovers. Day of Remembrance gives our allies a chance to step forward with us and stand in vigil, memorializing those of us who’ve died by anti-transgender violence,” states the “about” page on TDoR’s website.
Many events throughout multiple countries were listed on the TDoR website to be held on Nov. 20. Here in Eugene, an event was held at the Hult Center to conclude a week of awareness events sponsored by TransPonder and University of Oregon LGBT Education and Support Services. Lane’s Gender and Sexuality Alliance participated in the day of remembrance which came to a close with performances and speeches from local advocates. One speaker was Bethany Grace Howe, a Ph. D student at the UO.
“No longer will we die inside the tomb of ourselves or be left outside by our nation. We will not leave our history to be drafted by others. For however uncertain our destiny may be, we will write our history ourselves. We will be remembered,” said Howe.