Since 1999, November 20th is set aside as Transgender Day of Remembrance. It is a day where we stop and remember the transgender individuals from around the world that lost their lives to violence. The first TDOR was held in San Francisco to remember the life of Rita Hester who was murdered on November 28th of 1998. Since then it has grown to events in over 180 cities worldwide.
The numbers of deaths due to hatred and biogtry in the trans community around the world have been raising steadily, with 179 reported cases in 2010 and 211 cases in 2011.
From November of 2011 to today, a staggering 265 lives have been lost. That’s one life lost every 36 hours. Since January of 2008, over 750 transgender individuals from 51 countries have lost their lives due to violence.
This year, Chicago is mourning the loss of two of our own, Paige Clay and Tiffany Gooden. Both of them were killed in separate incidents in the West Garfield Park neighborhood.
Brian Turner, an outreach coordinator at Taskforce Community and Prevention Services, who knew Paige, remarked on her passing. “She wasn't a person out on the street. She was trying to do something with her life. She wasn't a nobody.” Paige’s creativity and resourcefulness was proving to make her a rising star in Chicago's ball scene.
In August, just a few blocks away from where Paige Clay was found, the body of Tiffany (Donta) Gooden was found in an abandoned building. The second murder in four months here in Chicago of a transgender person shocked the LGBT community.
National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs has reported that 44% of all hate crimes in 2010 that target the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community were towards transgender individuals.
Center on Clark CEO, Modesto Tico Valle, stated in a release after the April murder of Paige Clay, “Transgender women face some of the highest rates of violence and abuse in our nation.”
Both Clay's and Gooden's stories were reported on T.V. and in the papers but with how fast the news cycle changes, both stories were quickly forgotten by the main stream media.
To make sure these cases get the attention they need, long time LGBT activist with The Civil Rights Agenda, Rick Garcia, has continued to work with the Chicago Police Department to make sure Clay and Gooden do not get re-victimized by their cases being ignored. The police believe the cases are unrelated, but they are continuing to investigate.
Though awareness, education and understanding are growing towards trans community, there is much work to be done. No matter how safe I think I am, I never forget that there are people out there that would choose to hurt me just for being transgender.
We, as a civilized society, must put a stop to the hatred and violence towards all people; of all religions, all ethnicities, all orientations and all genders.
Every life lost, we loose a part of ourselves. We loose the contributions these individuals could have made to our world. Each person’s uniqueness should not be shunned or fear or hated, but treasured and shared.
Today I remember and honor my brothers and sisters in the Trans community that lost their lives just for living their life as authentically as they could.
Brandy Martell, 37, Oakland
Cassidy (Nathan) Vickers, 32, Los Angeles
Janette Tovar, 43, Dallas
Brenting Dolliole, 22,New Orleans
Githe (Orlando) Goines, 23, New Orleans
Dee Dee Pearson, age not reported, Kansas City
Tiffany (Donta) Gooden, 19, Chicago
Paige Clay, 23, Chicago
Kendall Hampton, 26, Cincinnati
Coco Williams, 35, Detroit
Kyra Kruz, 27, Philadelphia
Tracy Johnson, 40, Baltimore
Deoni Jones, 23, Washington D.C.
Tyrell Jackson, 23, Riviera Beach, Fl
Rosita Hidalgo, age not reported, Miami, Fl.
For a complete list of all 265 names from around the world, please visit TransRespect-TransPhobia.org