Tomorrow marks another day, another year, that we come together and remember the lives lost due to violence and bias against transgender people. The list of names the International Transgender Day of Remembrance website posts currently has hundreds of names of people killed because of their identities, how they are seen, ultimately for who they are, or were.
This day of remembrance began 15 years ago and sadly continues to this day because the violence hasn’t stopped. Hate, bias, and ignorance fuel a mighty fire that we fight every day. Trans people are our siblings, our parents, our friends, our partners, lovers, neighbors, our selves. You don’t (and likely won’t) see reports of the murders of trans folks in mainstream media, but that doesn’t mean you can stand by while this continues to happen. Today I am thinking especially of Islan Nettles, a 21-year old trans woman of color, who was killed August 17th in Harlem. The person suspected of assaulting and killing Islan has been released after being charged with assault and harassment, with little indication of what comes next in solving Islan’s murder and finding justice for her life.
We honor the lives of many, but I urge you to know that there is a striking disproportionate statistic associated with transphobia-fueled violence. The Hate Violence Report states that in 2012, 53% of anti-LGBTQ homicides were transgender women and coupled with violence targeting people of color, trans women of color have incredibly high chances of bias violence. Where is justice for Islan Nettles? Where is justice for the hundreds of lovely and amazing people we have lost due to hate crimes just like this?
Trans Day of Remembrance is a day to honor the lives lost, to celebrate their lives, and to remember that with each passing day, we have so much work to do to end this violence, to end transphobia, to end this heartbreaking taking of lives and find our humanity. How will you show up to remember, honor, and support the lives of the lost and the lives of the living?
There are dozens of events happening this week in the Portland metro area to remember and honor Trans Day of Remembrance. Thanks to our friends at Basic Rights Oregon’s Trans Justice Program for compiling the events information so you can find your way to one or many opportunities to show up for our trans friends, family, and the people who walk among us unknown, and elevate the stories the media will not tell.