Transgender Day of Remembrance is held each year to remember those who died due to hate and violence. The lives that are remembered encompass a range of identities, but their deaths all have one thing in common: transphobia.
The day takes place in November to honor Rita Hester, who was murdered on November 28th, 1998. Rita was found in her apartment, stabbed in the chest 20 times. Twenty times. Unfortunately, Rita's murder is still unsolved (as are many trans murders). Whether they identified as transgender, nonbinary, or any other gender nonconforming identity, we take this day to honor the lives that were taken too soon because of hatred.
Most people don't know about Trans Day of Remembrance, let alone celebrate or honor it. Like many issues of oppression, people choose to ignore the problem because it doesn't affect them. But violence against trans people is more common than not and I don't understand how people cannot care about that. These people are being harassed, attacked, discriminated against, sexually assaulted, and killed for just being who you are. How does that not piss you off?
According to the U.S. Transgender Survey, 46% of respondents reported being verbally harassed in the past year because of how they identify and 1 in 10 reported being physically attacked in the past year for the same reason. Nearly half (47%) of respondents said they have been sexually assaulted in their lifetime and 1 in 10 reported being sexually assaulted in the past year. For trans* people of color, these numbers are even higher. The stats are horrifying, but I haven't even talked about death yet.
There have been over 300 deaths (that we know of) of trans people across the world so far in 2018. Many of these individuals were unable to be identified and their names are unknown. Not to mention that 41% of trans people are estimated to have attempted suicide in the U.S. This is 9 times more likely than cisgender Americans.
Beverly Tillery, the executive director of the New York City Anti-Violence Project, said that she's seen a rise in hate crimes and violence towards trans people since the 2016 presidential election. And we all know that the Trump Administration is actively trying to erase trans people and oppress them even further. Not only are they trying to "redefine" gender, but there have been MANY discriminatory actions made towards the trans community since Trump entered office.
If you are in the LGBTQ+ community or claim to be an ally, how does this not infuriate you? How can you sit there and say that these facts don't break your heart or don't affect you? These are our friends and family. These individuals have lost their lives and it is up to US to make sure we don't lose any more.
TRANS LIVES MATTER! A change needs to happen. Do more and do better. Stand up for and against prejudice and discrimination of trans people. Demand change from your local lawmakers. Be there for your trans friends and family. Educate yourself. And don't just leave all the work to be done by trans people themselves, I promise they are doing all they can.