Today we pause to remember the beautiful lives needlessly lost to antitrans violence this year.
BY Mitch Kellaway
November 20 2014
two weeks day, a person is killed somewhere in the world for expressing gender nonconformity. This sobering statistic does not include the numerous other deaths that never receive media attention or are not reported to police, making the full scope of lives lost to senseless antitrans prejudice truly innumerable.
As the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance approaches each November 20, the list of the dead who vigilgoers will memorialize steadily grows, filled especially with the names of trans women of color. This year marks the 15th anniversary of the first TDOR, held in Allston, Mass., to memorialize Rita Hester, a trans woman of color whose life was cut tragically short in 1999.
Over the years, the now-international project has catalogued the loss of hundreds of trans and gender-nonconforming people — individuals who, within their often short lifetimes, were beloved family members, friends, and members of their communities — who faced attackers wielding slurs, weapons, and fists. Some were killed by intimate partners, some by strangers, while still others were children slain by parents who were intolerant of their gender variance.
And while transgender people, along with friends, loved ones, family, and allies, somberly remember those killed because of antitrans violence today, we also remember that there are still countless instances of transphobic acts occurring each year that do not end in death — many of which are never reported to media or authorities. Likewise, murders not covered by the media tend to become more difficult to communally memorialize on this day.
While The Advocate‘s memorial coverage to mark this year’s TDOR focuses on women whose deaths were covered in the English-speaking press, we also honor countless other precious lives marred by violence and the multitude of others whose passing goes unspoken.
So, once again, we ask that you draw your attention to those whose deaths we mourn, not simply to cause sadness, but to raise awareness of the need for a world in which such constant mourning is never requisite again.