Saturday, November 20, 2010

Brody's Scribbles... Marking This Year's Transgender Day Of Remembrance

Steve Williams is a passionate supporter of gay rights and animal rights, as well as being a published novelist, poet, writer for TV, film and computer games and a self confessed English nerd. He is a frequent contributor to Care2, a socially conscious news and video sharing network/website with over 14 million members globally.
Steve Williams
By Steve Williams (Bradford, United Kingdom) NOV 20 | Today, November 20th, is international Transgender Day of Remembrance, an annual event which attempts to draw attention to the lethal violence aimed at transgender and gender variant people the world over.
The international Transgender Day of Remembrance began in 1999 and was spurred on by the death of Rita Hester, an American trangender woman who was brutally murdered in 1998.
More on Rita Hester from Edge Boston:
Hester, a popular, outgoing transwoman with ties to Boston’s transgender and rock-n-roll communities, was brutally stabbed at least 20 times in the chest in her apartment by an unknown assailant; police found her body Nov. 28, 1998. In the aftermath of her murder Hester’s sister Diana Hester told Bay Windows she had last been seen at Allston’s Silhouette Lounge and that people had told them that two men, one of whom Hester knew, followed her home from the bar. The motive for the attack remains a mystery. Hester’s brother told Bay Windows following her death that the killer did not take the gold jewelry Hester had been wearing, and there were no signs in the apartment of forced entry. The Boston Globe reported that Hester had worked as a prostitute under the alias "Naomi," but there has been no evidence made public that her attacker was a client. In 2006 Boston Police reopened Hester’s case at the request of her mother and asked members of the community to come forward with any new information about her murder, but the case remains unsolved.
Some in the trans community believe Hester’s murder was a hate crime, evidenced by the brutality of the assault and the fact that the assailant did not appear to have stolen anything from her apartment. Her death prompted community members to organize a candlelight vigil and march in Allston that December, and this year local members of the transgender community and their allies will retrace the path of that march for the Transgender Day of Remembrance, an annual event marked across the country to commemorate transgender murder victims.
According to the Trans Respect verses Transphobia Project (TVT), the Transgender Day of Remembrance was observed in more than 120 cities in 17 countries last year, spanning Africa, Asia, Europe, North America and beyond.
It is important to stress that the true number of bias related murders against trans people is hard to gage because anti-trans crimes go underreported due to institutionalized transphobia. However the TVT provides us with the number of reported murders since the last Transgender Day of Remembrance so as to try and at least give a rough overview of those crimes.
The TDOR 2010 update has revealed a total of 179 cases of reported killings of trans people from November 20th 2009 to November 19h 2010. The update shows reports of murdered or killed trans people in 19 countries in the last year, with the majority from Brazil 91), Guatemala (15), Mexico (14, and the USA (14).
Cases have been reported from all six major World regions: Africa, Asia, Central and South America, Europe, North America, and Oceania. As in the previous years, most reported cases were from Central and South America, which account for 80 % of the globally reported homicides of trans people since January 2008. In 2008, 97 killings were reported in 13 Central and South American countries, in 2009, 136 killings in 15 Central and South American Countries, and in 2010 so far 122 killings in 12 Central and South American Countries. The starkest increase in reports is also to be found in Central and South America, e.g. in Brazil (2008: 59, 2009: 68, January-November 2010: 74), Guatemala (2008: 1, 2009: 13, January-November 2010: 14) and Mexico (2008: 4, 2009: 11, January-November 2010: 12). The data also show an alarming increase in reported murders in Turkey in the previous years (2008: 2, 2009: 5, January to November 2010: 6).
In total, the preliminary results show 487 reports of murdered trans people in 39 countries since January 2008.
Read more about these figures and how they breakdown here: [Link]
You can see a list of remembrance events being held throughout the U.S. here.
For those not able to attend a memorial event as part of Transgender Day of Remembrance, the "Remembering Our Dead" project is another way in which you can honor those lives lost and learn about the prevalence of anti-trans hate crimes and the lives lost because of such violence. You can view the wall here: [Link]