Next Friday will be the Transgender Day of Remembrance. It started with a 1999 candlelight vigil in San Francisco organized by Gwen Smith to call attention to the still unsolved murder of Boston’s Rita Hester that occurred on November 28, 1998 and the unacceptable media misgendering that happened in the wake of it. What infuriated transpeople at the time was that much of that media misgendering happened in a gay owned newspaper.
We were also beginning to forget the names and details of many of the trans people who had been murdered pre-TDOR, and the Remembering Our Dead web project was started to preserve that history and ensure we didn’t allow the memories of the dead to fade.
The 2015 TDOR list of names of our fallen sisters has been compiled with sadly 22 of them from the United States. Sadly Brazil once again leads the pack in being the deadliest place on Earth to be a trans person. The youngest person on this 2015 TDOR list of names is just 13 years old.
Ever since that initial TDOR event, it has spread around the United States and the world to become a memorial event in which we pay homage to and remember the trans persons killed from November 21 of the previous year to November 20.
Once again, it’s time for us to remember those who we have lost, and resolve to do whatever we can to increase understanding and acceptance of trans people in society to the point that the TDOR is no longer necessary.
But we are a long way from making that ultimate goal happen.