The Names You Should Know on Transgender Day of Remembrance 2020
It's only November, but 2020 will be the deadliest year in the history of the transgender community.
Today, November 20th, is Transgender Remembrance Day. The observation arose from a vigil for Rita Hester, a member of the Boston LGBTQ + community who worked on-site to educate people about transaction issues and sponsored many of the city's LGBTQ + youth. She was killed in her home on November 28, 1998, a few days before her 35th birthday. Twenty-two years later, her murder was not solved.
On the first anniversary of Hester's death, trans attorney Gwendolyn Ann Smith organized a vigil to remember Hester and all transgender people who had been lost to violence since her death. With this vigil the tradition of the Transgender Day of Remembrance began. "When Transgender Remembrance Day began, transgender people were in many cases nameless victims," Smith wrote in 2014 for The Advocate. "Our killers would do their best to erase our existence from the world." And law enforcement, the media, and others would continue the work. "
This year, at least 34 transgender or gender malefactors were violently murdered in the United States. That number is likely higher; Victims are still frequently ill-treated in statements by local police and media reports, which can delay awareness of fatal incidents. The majority of these victims, like Hester, were black transgender women who lived on the intersection of racism, homophobia and transphobia. The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs report on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and HIV-Impacted Hate Violence shows that in 2016 (the last year this report was published) 79 percent of LGBTQ + people murdered were 68 percent of people of color were transgender or gender-homosexual women, and 61 percent were black transgender women.
As you read this list and remember these victims, you make a commitment to learn about the issues facing the trans community and how you can support the many organizations that work to help make the world for our trans family make it safer and more welcoming. Being trans in this world shouldn't mean going through life with a purpose on your back. The following organizations are fighting for this change.
National Center for Transgender Equality
Sylvia Rivera Law Project
Trans women of color collective
TransJustice on the Audre Lorde project
Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund
Black Trans Advocacy Coalition
You can find more resources here.
On this 22nd Transgender Memorial Day, we honor the lives lost so far in 2020.
Dustin Parker, 25, was a founding member of his local LGBTQ + organization, the Oklahomans for Equality-McAlester Chapter. His employer, Rover Taxi, issued a statement recalling Parker as "a steadfast friend, amazing husband and father, and generous to failure." He was very loving, worked tirelessly, and welcomed life with so much hope and enthusiasm that his presence illuminated all of our lives. "
Neulisa Luciano Ruiz, also known as Alexa, is referred to as "humble" and "noble" in her community, according to Metro Puerto Rico.
Yampi Méndez Arocho was only 19 years old. He loved watching the NBA and was a fan of the Miami Heat.
Monika Diamond, 34, was an active member of the Charlotte LGBTQ + nightlife community. She owned an event promotion company and was co-CEO of the International Mother of the Year Pageantry System, which celebrates LGBTQ + mothers.
33-year-old Lexi loved poetry, makeup, and fashion, according to her friend Lavonia Brooks. "I really looked up to her because she was tolerant and respectful," Brooks told the New York Daily News. "Lexi had a beautiful heart, she was very gifted."
Johanna Metzger from Pennsylvania was self-taught.
Penélope Díaz Ramírez, 31, "didn't deserve to die," said Tori Cooper, director of community engagement for the Transgender Justice Initiative for human rights campaign. "Transgender people don't deserve to die. Every single lawyer, ally, elected official and community member must stand up and say 'no more' in the face of this terrible news. What we are doing is not enough."
Serena Angelique Velázquez Ramos, 32, was visiting a friend, Layla Peláez, 21, who recently moved to Puerto Rico, according to the New York Times. Peláez was "a laid-back young woman raised by her grandmother who was just beginning to explore the world," her cousin Luz Melendez told the Times.
Nina Pop, 28, worked in a fast food restaurant and was well known in her area, according to Missouri's news broadcaster KFVS12. "She was always happy," said friend Emory McCauley.
Helle Jae O’Regan, 20, was proud of her trans identity. On the Trans Day of Visibility in March, she wrote on Instagram: "I looked at the pictures I took before I switched compared to now and I realized that I am much happier than before." I love me now Thank you to everyone who has ever supported me and everyone who doesn't hope you will come around. I am happy and proud to be myself. "
38-year-old Tony McDade was killed by police on May 27 in Tallahassee, Florida. The McDade murder - two days after that of George Floyd - sparked an outcry from interest groups and became a rallying call for the protection of Black Trans Lives.
Jayne Thompson, 33, was mistreated in the first reporting, an issue many victims face. "First, it's horrific that it took the media over a month to correctly identify Jayne by her correct name and pronoun," said Cooper. “Transgender and gender-abusive people deserve dignity in death and in life. Second, it is clear that Jayne was in crisis when she was approached by the Colorado State Patrol. When members of the community need help, the expectation is to protect and serve rather than be killed. "
Selena Reyes-Hernandez, 37, was killed in Chicago on May 31. In response to Reyes-Hernandez's murder, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot wrote on Twitter: "We must fight hard to protect our trans community and demand that their attackers be brought in." to justice. "
Dominique "Rem'mie" Fells was "a unique and beautiful soul whom I fortunately knew personally," wrote a friend online.
Riah Milton, 25, loved traveling and being outside, said her mother Tracey Milton to the Cincinnati Enquirer. "She just wanted to be accepted for who she was," said her mother.
Brian "Egypt 'Powers", 43, loved dancing and cooking and, according to the Akron Beacon-Journal, wore long, colorful "unicorn braids".
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Brayla Stone, the youngest victim on this list, was only 17 years old. HRC Director Tori Cooper describes Brayla as “a child who is just beginning to live his life. A child with trans experience. A black girl. A person who had hopes and dreams, plans and fellowship. “A 19 year old man was charged with capital murder due to her death in September.
Merci Mack was 22. Her friends and family describe her as funny, generous, and a beloved aunt to their nieces and nephews. Speaking of Merci’s murder on the Morning News, Shannon Walker, founder of Nu Trans Movement, said, “We are dealing with a generation of men who are just not ready to face the music and just not ready to take theirs Adopting sexuality and the experiences and feelings it has I have color for trans women. And that's just the bottom line. "
Shaki Peters was 32 years old when she died in rural Amite City, Louisiana in July. A friend addressed her death in an interview with People and said, “The saddest part is that we have a record of when our people die. Most people can mourn the dead after losing someone, but we actually have to fight for our humanity. "
Bree Black was 27 years old. "We want some immediate responses to current developments and conduct this investigation with full integrity," Black Lives Matter protester Tifanny Burks told the Miami Herald.
Summer Taylor, 24, loved animals and wanted to go to veterinary school. Summer's parents described her to KUOW and said, "A burst of creativity, wit and charm with a heart of empathy."
Marilyn Cazares, 22, was described by her aunt as charismatic, courageous and open after her death in mid-July.
Tiffany Harris, also known as Dior Ova, died at the age of 32. During a vigil to celebrate her life, Transgender Equity Consulting founder Cecilia Gentili told the crowd, “We need these men to show that it is good and okay to love a trans woman. "
Queasha D. Hardy, 22, was a hairdresser friends referred to as "loyal," "always smiling," and "unique".
Aja Raquell Rhone-Spears, 34, ran her own clothing line and volunteered with children who are leaving the foster family. "Your life is gone," her sister Nicola Spears told People. "There's a life that will never return. It's so unfair and we just want justice to be done. We want an arrest to be made and these people to be held accountable for what they have done."
Kee Sam was 24. "As we mourn Kee, we will continue to campaign for reforms that will protect the lives of transsexuals," Cooper said in a statement. “We must support and protect all of our trans friends and family. We also need to ensure that laws and judicial systems against hate crimes hold those who have harmed us accountable. "
Aerrion Burnett died two days before her 38th birthday. "Aerrion was a Barbie," her friend Korea Kelly told KCTV News. “She was a goddess. Can you hear me? Fun! When I say goddess, she was everything. If you want to have a good day, you have to smile. Aerrion was the person you wanted by your side. "
Tracy "Mia" Green died in Philadelphia at 29. The city's LGBT Office released a statement on her death: “This recent act of violence against a member of our community is a grim reminder of the epidemic of violence against trans people. It is a crisis that cannot continue. The countless painful losses suffered this year alone - especially in our transgender color communities - remind us that much remains to be done to achieve full equality, respect and justice for all of us. We continue to work to ensure that discrimination, bigotry and hatred are never tolerated in the City of Philadelphia. "
Michelle Michellyn Ramos Vargas, 33, was a nursing student and bartender in Puerto Rico. After her death, LGBTQ + activist Pedro Julio Serrano spoke out against violence in the trans community in Puerto Rico: “Trans Puerto Ricans are hunted. Enough of so much hatred. Trans people are as human as everyone else and deserve to live in peace, equality and freedom. "
Felycya Harris, 33, was an interior designer. Her friend Ricola Collier told WRDW: "Everyone will remember Felycya. That laugh. The smile - the smile. The conversations. The arguments. The attitudes. Everyone will remember who Felycya Harris is. Nobody would ever forget who that is." ”
Brooklyn Deshauna Smith, 20, was a cosmetology student. Her murder made 2020 the deadliest year for the trans community since the human rights campaign began in 2013. HRC President Alphonso David said in a statement: “Every life has value, and we must seize this moment to not only look at Brooklyn and To remember Every single one of the people killed this year is taking action and working to break down this culture of violence and stigma that the transgender and gendered gender community faces. The life of our community is at stake and with every breath we take, we must commit ourselves to fighting for the change we need. "
Sara Blackwood, 39, loved My Little Pony, folklore, and video games. She left an eight year old partner who was "heartbroken" at the loss.
Angel Unique, 25, was a beautician from Jackson, Tennessee. Her friend Takia Weddle told Local 24 news channel, “Everyone who knew Angel knew she was very funny. Very nice to everyone she met. “A suspect has to be named and the police are asking for information from Crimestoppers Memphis.
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