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The Transgender Day of Remembrance is an annual day of reflection on Nov. 20 that honors the memory of the transgender people whose lives were lost due to acts of anti-transgender violence, according to GLAAD.
The Transgender Day of Remembrance began in 1999 by transgender advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith as a vigil to honor the memory of Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was killed in 1998. The vigil commemorated all the transgender people lost to violence since Rita Hester's death, and began a tradition that has become the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance.
According to the Transgender Europe website, since 2008 there have been 3,317 recorded murders of transgender people worldwide. Two hundred and fifty of those deaths have been in North America, 2,608 of them in South America, 148 of them in Europe, 17 in Africa, 282 in Asia and nine of them have been in Oceania.
Among those deaths, 61 percent of them have been sex workers. These deaths were caused in different ways, but the majority of them were caused by shootings, stabbings and beatings that resulted in the deaths of transgender people, specifically transgender women of color.
In the United States, there were 22 reported deaths out of 331 transgender deaths worldwide this year.
Iowa State students and faculty give their thoughts on Transgender Day of Remembrance and the significance behind the day.
Brad Freihoefer, the director of the Center for LGBTQIA+ Student Success at Iowa State, said Transgender Day of Remembrance is an annual day to honor the memories and lives of those who have been lost and to acknowledge what needs to be done in order to work toward a better future.
Freihoefer said it is important to have a day like this in order to bring awareness to the conversation.
“These are humans, I mean these are human beings living their lives,” Freihoefer said. “And due to the actions of others, their lives cease. It’s horrific. If we don’t give voice to that, and honor those lives, I feel when we look at media it doesn’t give voice to these people and honor their lives. These people deserve dignity, respect and care for their lives.”
Liliana Davis is a senior in community and regional planning. She identifies as a transgender woman.
Davis said having a day like Transgender Day of Remembrance is important, because it’s easy to forget and overlook the violence taking place in the trans community. She said this day gives the opportunity to spotlight the lives lost, and uses these deaths as a way to work for a better future.
Davis also said it is important to identify the intersectionality of anti-transgender violence. She put importance on the fact that almost all of the transgender people being killed are transgender women of color.
“It’s really eye opening to go look at the statistics,” Davis said. “While most people on the list are trans women, they aren’t white trans women; they’re trans women of color. It reminds me to take that step back and take that intersectional perspective, and see how violence affects people differently. It shows how extremely privileged [I am] in that I am white, and how that decreases the chance that I’m going to experience that violence.”
On the Transgender Day of Remembrance people are meant to recognize those who have lost their lives due to anti-transgender violence, and then reflect on the changes that need to be made in the world that will make it a safer place for those of transgender identities.
In 2019, 22 transgender people were murdered in the United States, according to the Human Rights Campaign website:
Dana Martin was a 31-year-old black transgender woman who was fatally shot on Jan. 6 in Montgomery, Alabama.
Jazzaline Ware was a 34-year-old black transgender woman who was found dead in her Memphis, Tennessee, apartment in March. Her death is being investigated as a homicide, according to The Advocate.
Ashanti Carmon was a 27-year-old black transgender woman who was fatally shot March 30 in Prince George's County, Maryland.
Claire Legato was a 21-year-old black transgender woman who was fatally shot April 15 in Cleveland, Ohio.
Muhlaysia Booker was a 22-year-old black transgender woman who was fatally shot May 18 in Dallas, Texas.
Michelle 'Tamika' Washington was a 40-year-old black transgender woman who was fatally shot May 19 in Philadelphia.
Paris Cameron was a 20-year-old black transgender woman who was among three people killed in an anti-LGBTQ shooting May 25 in a home in Detroit, Michigan. Cameron was taken to the hospital, where she died from her injuries.
Chynal Lindsey was a 26-year-old black transgender woman who was found dead June 1 in White Rock Lake, Dallas, with signs of “homicidal violence.”
Chanel Scurlock was a 23-year-old black transgender woman who was found fatally shot June 6 in Lumberton, North Carolina.
Zoe Spears was a 23-year-old black transgender woman who was found with signs of trauma June 13 near Eastern Avenue in Fairmount Heights, Maryland, and later pronounced dead.
Brooklyn Lindsey was a 32-year-old black transgender woman who was found dead June 25 in Kansas City, Missouri.
Denali Berries Stuckey was a 29-year-old black transgender woman who was found fatally shot July 20 in North Charleston, South Carolina.
Tracy Single was a 22-year-old black transgender woman who was killed July 30 in Houston, Texas.
Bubba Walker was a 55-year-old black transgender woman who was killed in late July in Charlotte, North Carolina. Walker was reported missing on July 26.
Kiki Fantroy was a 21-year-old black transgender woman who was fatally shot July 31 in Miami, Florida.
Jordan Cofer was 22 years old and was among the nine victims killed in a mass shooting Aug. 4 in Dayton, Ohio. According to the Human Rights Campaign website, Cofer was only out to a handful of close friends and used the pronouns he/him/his on his social media profiles.
Pebbles LaDime “Dime” Doe was a 24-year-old black transgender woman who was killed Aug. 4 in Allendale County, South Carolina.
Bailey Reeves was a 17-year-old black transgender person who was fatally shot Sept. 2 in Baltimore, Maryland.
Bee Love Slater was 23 years old and was killed Sept. 4 in Clewiston, Florida.
Jamagio Jamar Berryman was a 30-year-old black gender non-conforming person who was killed Sept. 13 in Kansas City, Kansas.
Itali Marlowe was a 29-year-old black transgender woman who was found shot Sept. 20 in Houston, Texas. She was transported to a nearby hospital where she was pronounced dead.
Brianna “BB” Hill was 30 years old and was fatally shot Oct. 14 in Kansas City, Missouri.
As of this article's publication, these are the 22 reported victims of anti-transgender violence in the United States. However, there may be more victims who have not been reported or have not been claimed as anti-transgender violence.
“For folks in the LGBTQIA+ community, remember to take care of yourselves,” Freihoefer said. “We recommend student counseling services, as folks are navigating through the challenges and emotions that this particular day brings because it is extremely heavy, and it’s awful to look through. But it is real, it’s happening and we have to talk about it.”
At Iowa State, those who wish to discuss or be a part of conversation regarding Transgender Day of Remembrance can attend open space areas at the Sloss House, which is located next to Curtiss Hall, or at the Center for LGBTQIA+ Student Success in the Memorial Union.
There will be a vigil happening 6-9 p.m. at Des Moines University for Transgender Day of Remembrance.