The Transgender Day of Remembrance is held on November 20 of each year. In 1999, transgender advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith held the first vigil to honor Rita Hester, a transgender woman killed in 1998. TGDOR has been an annual event since.
“The Transgender Day of Remembrance seeks to highlight the losses we face due to anti-transgender bigotry and violence. I am no stranger to the need to fight for our rights, and the right to simply exist is first and foremost. With so many seeking to erase transgender people — sometimes in the most brutal ways possible — it is vitally important that those we lose are remembered, and that we continue to fight for justice.”
– Transgender Day of Remembrance founder Gwendolyn Ann Smith
Since January 1, 2015, 23 transwomen have been murdered in the United States. Already ahead of 2014’s count of 20 killings, they are part of the worldwide total of at least 81 (documented) deaths by violence at the hands of another this year.
Caitlyn Jenner has been in the news this year, with her story of moving to publicly living as her authentic self making world-wide headlines. Formerly known as Bruce, gold medal winner at the 1976 Olympics, Jenner has raised awareness of the “T” in LGBT. That has not stemmed the violence towards transwomen.
Locally, Fresno resident K.C. Haggard, 66, was murdered on July 23, 2015. That crime remains unsolved, and the persons responsible for stabbing her to death on a Fresno street remain at large. Fresno Police continue to refer to Haggard as a male, even after local trans activists informed them of her status. (I assume FPD noticed Haggard was dressed as a woman at the time of her murder.)
While the murders of transwomen in the United States are the focus of this blog, violence against transgender people, including female-to-male (transmen), genderqueer, and gender-diverse individuals, continue and number over 1,700 incidents around the world since 2008.
Events are held around the world to mark the day, to remember those lost to violence and bigotry. Groups in Bakersfield and Fresno have scheduled memorials and vigils.