Today, we pause to remember

Posted by: | Posted on: November 20, 2013

This is my first observance of the Transgender Day of Remembrance in Boston. Over the years I have observed #TDOR in a variety of places, from rural New Hampshire to Los Angeles, and spoken to many community members about how the event has had an impact on them. Each year, I am deeply moved by the touching words of remembrance as well as the resilience our community shows in the face of prejudice and violence. This year, we mark the lives of 238 trans people whose lives were cut short because of anti-transgender bias.

On this 15th anniversary of the Transgender Day of Remembrance, I am sad to think about how many lives have been taken in the past year. Yet I am also proud to know that the activism surrounding the murder of Rita Hester of Allston, Massachusetts, and the fight against the gross bias in the local media’s reporting of it, catalyzed our worldwide trans community to stand together against the tide of anti-trans violence.

It’s important for us to take a moment to look at the names and identities of those who were taken from us this year, and to recognize the intersections of race and class as it applies to anti-transgender violence. As Monica Roberts discusses in her post, “This year we’ll be reading 238 predominately Black and Latina names … and we’re fed up with doing so.”  Anti-transgender violence disproportionally affects transgender women of color – this fact is inescapable and must be addressed as we work to combat bias against our community.

As the new Executive Director here at MTPC, I am particularly moved by the TDOR history recounted in today’s PFLAG blog post from Diego Sanchez, Senior Policy Advisor to former Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank and now Director of Policy at PFLAG. Diego was the first openly #transgender person to work as a legislative staff member on Capitol Hill and was quite active in the fight to honor Rita. Below is an excerpt from his post.

“The nation didn’t immediately honor the memory and loss of the beautiful, always-smiling, intelligent, elegant Rita. She was gone, and the local Boston newspapers – mainstream and LGBT alike – misnamed and misidentified her even when asked not to, sloppily linking unfounded allegations about Rita alongside facts. The fact was that she was horridly murdered in her own home, and media reported it without care, respect or regard for her or for the transgender community, including those of us who were local and friends of hers.” (Read more.)

(Read MTPC Steering Committee Chair Nancy Nangeroni’s thoughts on why #TDOR and #TransWk are both important to our community.)

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