Vigils, gatherings and other public events will mark Transgender Day of Remembrance today, honoring trans victims of intolerance and violence.
According to the groundbreaking study Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, published last year by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the National Center for Transgender Equality, one in four transgender people reported being physically assaulted and one in 10 reported being sexually assaulted because of their gender identity or expression.
The threat of violence adds to the burden many transgender people face from society every day. Twenty six percent of the study’s respondents had lost a job and 50 percent were harassed at work because of their gender identity. The survey also revealed that transgender people were four times more likely to live in extreme poverty compared to the general population. More than half of transgender and gender non-conforming people who were bullied, harassed or assaulted in school because of their gender identity have attempted suicide.
“Let us all use this day to not only remember, but to rededicate ourselves to bringing an end to discrimination and violence against transgender people,” said Rea Carey, Executive Director of NGLTF. “As our national study shows, discrimination is pervasive and severe toward transgender and gender non-conforming people. They fear for their livelihood, their safety, their ability to feed their families and have a roof over their heads. We must continue working toward a culture that affirms the dignity and worth of all people. Until no more of our transgender friends and family are lost to senseless hate violence, we must not rest.”
The first Transgender Day of Remembrance was held in honor of Rita Hester, whose murder in 1998 led to the “Remembering Our Dead” web project and a San Francisco candlelight vigil in 1999. Since then, hundreds of cities around the country and the world have hosted annual Transgender Day of Remembrance events.
“Today we commemorate our transgender brothers and sisters we’ve lost, and stand in solidarity against hate-based violence,” said Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin. “Transgender people face violence at unfathomable rates and we must keep all those affected by these crimes in our memory so that we can see an end to this brutality.”