Hate crimes against trans* people take too many lives and remain far too common even with LGBT acceptance on the rise. We saw evidence of this earlier this year, when the life of Jennifer Laude was violently ended by a U.S. Marine. Though Laude’s murder attracted a lot of media attention, not every case like hers does, and incidents like these are not isolated.
November 20th is Transgender Day of Remembrance, a day dedicated to honoring the memory of trans* people who have been killed. In the wake of Laude’s death and the disturbingly high number of trans* people who have been violently attacked or killed, there has never been a better time to honor this annual memorial.
The tradition began in 1999, a year after the murder of Rita Hester when a candlelight vigil was held in her memory. Since then, Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) has been encouraging all trans* people and allies to join up and spread awareness, show support, and educate themselves and others on what we can do to help.
Human Rights Campaign published an article yesterday by Chelle Lhuillier, the prolific and accomplished Miss LGBT Philippines-USA, encouraging others to partake in the worldwide memorial. “Despite tremendous progress in advancing LGBT rights, each year the list of transgender lives cut short tragically grows,” writes Lhuillier. “It is to them that we dedicate Transgender Day of Remembrance, a day the community joins with our friends and allies in a sign of solidarity. From Rita Hester in Boston over 15 years ago to Jennifer Laude in he Philippines last month, countless transgender individuals worldwide have lost their lives because of who they are and whom they love. It is because of them that we dedicate Transgender Day of Remembrance to honor and commemorate their dignity and pay them with the respect they deserve.”
On the GLAAD page honoring the holiday, founder Gwendolyn Ann Smith writes “The Transgender Day of Remembrance seeks to highlight the losses we face due to anti-transgender bigotry and violence. I am no stranger to the need to fight for our rights, and the right to simply exist is first and foremost. With so many seeking to erase transgender people – sometimes in the most brutal ways possible – it is vitally important that those we lose are remembered, and that we continue to fight for justice.”
It is an absolutely crucial time for all gender non-conforming people and supporters to show that support, both in face of the tragedies we’ve experienced and in response to the successes we’ve had. To find out what you can do to show your support, click here.