Transgender Day of Remembrance

Today is the Transgender Day of Remembrance. It was first held November 20, 1999, marking the anniversary of Rita Hester’s death, an African American trans woman who was killed in her apartment. Now on this date each year, the lives of trans victims from the year are remembered. While I believe it’s important to say their names, I hope we can also take time to remember to see violence as a symptom of social norms, institutions, and structures and not merely reduce it to individual acts. We must also remember and examine how gender, sexual, and racial violence intersect.

Dr. Sarah Lamble, a professor of Criminology and Queer Theory, stretches the idea of remembrance to action.

What would it mean to remember in such a way that confronts structural violence (i.e., processes of domination that are socially, politically, and economically instituted over time) and requires examination of our own complicity?

None of us are innocent. We must envision practices of remembrance that situate our own positions within structures of power that authorize violence in the first place. Our task is to move from sympathy to responsibility, from complicity to reflexivity, from witnessing to action. It is not enough to simply honor the memory of the dead—we must transform the practices of the living. 1

So on this Transgender Day of Remembrance, I hope we can take a moment to transform some of our own practices. What that looks like for each person will be different. Here are some ideas:

Read the stories of transgender Mormons. (there are some in this blog post)
Explore how to become a better ally. (here is a resource from PFLAG)
Listen to podcasts on intersectionality. (such as this one from the African American Policy Forum)
Share stories with children that go beyond gender stereotypes (such as this list of diverse books)
Take time to say the names of trans victims.

This is a list of transgender persons who were killed from November 20, 2019 to November 20, 2020.*

Yunieski Carey Herrera, a 39 year old transgender Latina, was killed in Miami, Florida on November 17, 2020. She was 39 years old.

Angel Unique, a Black transgender woman, was killed in Memphis, Tennessee, on October 25, 2020. She was 25 years old.

Sara Blackwood, a transgender woman, was killed in Indianapolis, Indiana on October 11, 2020.

Brooklyn Deshuna, a Black transgender woman, was killed in Shreveport, Louisiana on October 7, 2020. She was 20 years old.

Felycya Harris, a transgender woman, was killed in Augusta, Georgia in October 2020. She was 33 years old.

Michelle Michellyn Ramos Vargas, a Puerto Rican transgender woman, was killed in San Germán, Puerto Rico on September 30, 2020. She was in her mid-30s.

Mia Green, a Black transgender woman, was killed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on September 28, 2020. She was 29 years old.

Aerrion Burnett, a Black transgender woman, was killed in independence, Missouri on September 19, 2020.

Kee Sam, a Black transgender woman, was killed in Lafayette, Louisiana on August 12, 2020.

Lea Rayshon Daye, a Black transgender woman, died in Cuyahoga County Jail in Cleveland, Ohio on August 30. She was 28 years old.

Aja Raquell Rhone-Spears, a Black transgender woman, was killed in Portland, Oregon on July 28, 2020. She also went by Rocky Rhone.

Queasha D Hardy, a Black transgender woman, was killed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on July 27, 2020. She was 22 years old.

Dior H Ova / Tiffany Harris, a Black transgender woman, was killed in the Bronx, New York.

Marilyn Cazares, a transgender Latina, was killed in Brawley, California.

Summer Taylor, a white non-binary person, was killed in Seattle, Washington on July 4, 2020.

Bree Black, a Black transgender woman, was killed in Pompano Beach, Florida on July 3, 2020. She was 27 years old.

Shaki Peters, a Black transgender woman, was killed in Amite City, Louisiana on July 1, 2020. She was 32 years old.

Merci Mack, a Black transgender woman, was killed in Dallas, Texas, on June 30, 2020. She was 22 years old.

Brayla Stone, a Black transgender girl, was killed in Dallas, Texas on June 25, 2020. She was 17 years old.

Brian “Egypt’ Powers, a Black transgender person, was killed in Akron, Ohio on June 13, 2020. They were 43 years old.

Selena Reyes-Hernandez, a transgender woman, was killed in Chicago, Illinois on May 31, 2020. She was 37 years old.

Jayne Thompson, a white transgender woman, was killed in Mesa County, Colorado on May 9, 2020. She was 33 years old.

Riah Milton, a Black transgender woman, was killed in Liberty Township, Ohio on June 9, 2020. She was 25 years old.

Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells, a Black transgender woman, was killed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on June 9, 2020.

Tony McDade, a Black transgender man, was killed in Tallahasee Florida on May 27, 2020.

Helle Jae O’Regan, a transgender woman, was killed in San Antonio, Texas on May 6, 2020. She was 20 years old.

Nina Pop, a Black transgender woman, was killed in Sikeston, Missouri on May 3, 2020.

Penélope Díaz Ramírez, a transgender Latina, was killed in Puerto Rico on April 13, 2020.

Layla Pelaez Sánchez, a transgender Latina, was killed in Puerto Rico on April 21, 2020. She was killed with Serena Angelique Velásquez Ramos. She was 21 years old.

Serena Angelique Velázquez Ramos, a transgender Latina, was killed in Puerto Rico on April 21, 2020. She was killed with Layla Pelaez Sánchez. She was 32 years old.

Johanna Metzger, a white transgender woman, was killed in Baltimore, Maryland on April 11, 2020.

Lexi, a transgender woman, was killed in Harlem, New York on March 28, 2020. She was 33 years old.

Monika Diamond, a Black transgender woman, was killed in Charlotte, North Carolina on March 18, 2020. She was 34 years old.

Scott/Scottlynn Devore, a gender non-conforming person, was killed in Augusta, Georgia. They were 51 years old.

Yampi Méndez Arocho, a transgender Latino, was killed in Moca, Puerto Rico on March 5, 2020. He was 19 years old.

Neulisa Luciano Ruiz, a transgender Latina, was killed in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico on February 24, 2020.

Dustin Parker, a white transgender man, was killed in McAlester, Oklahoma, on January 1, 2020. He was 25 years old.

Nikki Kuhnhausen, a transgender girl, was killed in Vancouver Washington some time after her disappearance in June 2019. She was 17 years old.

Mia Perry, a Black transgender woman, was killed in Washington DC on December 29, 2019.

Yahira Nesby, a Black transgender woman, was killed in New York on December 19, 2019. She was 33 years old.

*Sourced from GLAAD

1 Retelling Racialized Violence,Remaking White Innocence:The Politics of Interlocking Oppressions inTransgender Day of Remembrance by Sarah Lamble

Tirza

Tirza lives in New England with her husband and four kids. She spends as much time as possible reading, sleeping, and playing outside.

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4 Responses

  1. Wendy says:

    Thank you, Tirza, for honoring this day and helping us these beautiful people who were taken unjustly and violently due to our society’s fear of difference. I really appreciate your sharing the history and such valuable resources. The podcast and children’s book list look really helpful as well as the information at PFLAG. And Abby’s earlier post that you linked to is really moving. Education on this topic is much-needed and appreciated.

  2. Risa says:

    Thank you for this, Tirza. This is so important.

  3. EmilyCC says:

    Dr. Lamble’s quote is a helpful way for me to frame my need for action and culpability. Thank you, Tirza!

    I didn’t see this one on the HRC lists, but i loved *The Other Boy* by M.G. Hennessey for middle schoolers/anyone.

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