Transgender Day of Remembrance, held world-wide each year on November 20th, began in response to the 1998 murder of trans woman Rita Hester in Boston.
Each year, the community mourns the death of gender variant people and their loved ones across the world who were murdered because they were being themselves. You can find more information about TDOR and the victims here.
In recognition of TDOR this year, I would like to call attention to a November 16th article in The Huffington Post by Pete Subkoviak entitled, “LGBT Leadership: Split Hairs and Burnt Bodies” —
When Matthew Shepard was beaten bloody, tied to a fence, and left to die alone in agony, a call was heard around the United States for tolerance toward differing sexual orientations. The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community banded together, mourned and got to work to pass the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, a law that expands the definition of a hate crime to sexual orientation and gender identity. Thankfully, we’ve come to a better place and time where gays and lesbians can focus on marriage issues, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and employment discrimination. These are all extremely important issues, so naturally some other stuff is going to have to wait. Things like, say, burning bodies.
It is not surprising to me that virtually no one is familiar with the name Shelley Hilliard. Shelley’s body was just found on the side of a busy highway in Detroit last week, burned to death. Shelley’s mother, who had reported to police that her much-beloved teen was missing, had to visit the medical examiner’s office to identify her child’s torso — all that remained.
Shelley was part of a much-disparaged group whose high rates of HIV, physical and sexual abuse and murders go largely unnoticed by the LGBT community, both in terms of consciousness and in terms of programming and funding. I’m talking about transgender individuals — especially young transwomen of color. Nov. 20 is the International Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR), which memorializes all individuals who were murdered because of their gender identity over the past year.
In marking this TDOR, it is time for leaders in the LGB communities to admit that they need to do more. Transgender individuals are a small minority of the LGBT community but are also the ones who need the most support this day and age. I ask you to imagine being a transwoman walking down the street and how many hateful epithets you would have to tolerate in order to pick up a gallon of milk or visit a doctor’s office. …
You can read the rest of the article here.