Today is the world wide Transgender Day of Remembrance, dedicated to educating people about the trans community and the important issues trans people face worldwide, from hate crimes, to healthcare hurdles, to employment discrimination.
Created originally to honor Rita Hester, a highly visible member of the transgender community in her native Boston, MA where she worked locally on education around transgender issues. Rita was stabbed 20 times in her apartment. Almost two decades later, police still have not found Rita’s murderer (or murderers). In 1999, one year after Rita’s murder, advocate and writer Gwendolyn Ann Smith coordinated a vigil in Rita’s honor. The vigil commemorated not only Rita, but all who were tragically lost to anti-transgender violence.
Findings from the ‘Injustice at Every Turn’ report conducted by the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) and the National LGBTQ Task Force showed alarming rates of violence and harassment expreienced by the more than 6,000 transgender repondents across a variety of contexts, including educational settings, at work, in interactions with police and with family members, at homeless shelters, accessing public accommodations, and in jails and prisons.
Although not every person represented during the Day of Remembrance self-identified as transgender — that is, as a transsexual, crossdresser, or otherwise gender-variant — each was a victim of violence based on bias against transgender people. The deaths of those based on anti-transgender hatred or prejudice are largely ignored. Over the last decade, more than one person per month has died due to transgender-based hate or prejudice, regardless of any other factors in their lives.
Anti-transgender violence isn’t just directed at adults. Statistics from the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) show that in schools, 16.2% of transgender students report being physically assaulted as a result of gender expression, while 32.5% experience physical harassment.
The Greater Dayton LGBT Center will host a Candlelight Ceremony today at 4pm to honor those lost to violence because they are Gender-Noncoforming. The Center is located at 24 N. Jefferson St, Suite 200 and all are welcome. Their will be a panel discussion with members of our local Transgender community, as well as welcoming remarks from Mayor Nan Whaley.