TransGriot Note: A TDOR post I composed for the Task Force blog
Today is the 15th anniversary of the Transgender Day of Remembrance, which was conceived by Gwen Smith in response to the misgendering in gay and straight Boston media to the November 28, 1998 murder of of African-American trans woman Rita Hester.
As of this writing, Hester’s killer has yet to be apprehended, and Smith organized a vigil that happened in San Francisco and Boston in 1999, and it didn’t take long for the TDOR to go national and eventually international
This TDOR 2014 finds me as one of the people still around that noted
when the initial TDOR started in 1999 and has participated in TDOR events
in Long Island, NY, Louisville, San Antonio, and Houston to reflect
upon how this event has grown over the past 15 years.
The TDOR is a time that remember our lost trans brothers and trans sisters that were tragically taken away from us from November 21 of the previous calendar year to November 20 of this year.
One of the things that really angered me this year in addition to the 11 trans people we lost in the United States and all of them were trans women of color. One one of our lost sisters was just 8 years old. Many of our fallen sisters predominately POC’s under age 40, and Brazil continues to be unfortunately the world leader in trans murders.
But shifting back to the TDOR. it is an opportunity for the trans community to raise awareness that we exist and these murders are happening. It gives us an opportunity to partner with our allies, community build, grieve for our dead, and steel ourselves for the ongoing task to ensure that we do the necessary work to make the TDOR’s unnecessary. Many locales also wrap trans educational events around the TDOR
memorials. Some are sponsored by churches, or take place on college
The work that we need to do to create that better world that will hopefully make TDOR’s unnecessary is to educate people about trans lives. We advocate for trans human rights protective laws at the local, state and federal level to drive home the message that we are part of this community, too.
We agitate for effective policing when our people are murdered. We push for swift capture of the perpetrators of anti-trans violence, and when they are captured by law enforcement, stiff punishments while educating the law enforcement community how to respectfully treat deceased and living trans people We also insist from the media respectful treatment of our deceased brothers and sisaters as they comer these stories.
TDOR’s are not just for the dead and all the people who loved and treasure their memories. They are more for the living/ The Transgender Day of Remembrance reminds us on one level that there but for the grace of God go us, and that we never forget the people whose lives were tragically take. It also is a powerful exhortation to do all that we can in conjunction with our allies to advance the human rights of the trans community at large and make a better world for ours and future generations of trans people.