Honor the 2012 Transgender Day of Remembrance
Annually on November 20, supporters of the transgender community come together to hold vigils for those who were murdered in the previous year due to anti-transgender hatred and prejudice. The day has become known as the Transgender Day of Remembrance.
The event is held in November to honor Rita Hester, whose murder on November 28, 1998 kicked off the Remembering Our Dead project and began the tradition of holding candlelight vigils. Like most anti-transgender murder cases, Rita’s murder has yet to be solved.
As we approach this year’s Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR), there is much to be thankful for today. Transgender people are better protected now than in the past. For example some school systems are becoming more welcoming to transgender students. Transgender people are as a whole are gaining far greater visibility.
At the same time, there is still much to be done before we become a truly welcoming society. Our presence in the workplace is often still viewed with skepticism or outright disgust. Transgender students can find themselves bullied in real life and on the Internet. Increased visibility goes hand-in-hand with increased resistance from those that fear us.
Once such tragic story is that of Victoria Carmen White. On September 12, 2010, Victoria was shot three times by Alrashim Chambers or Marquise Foster. There were many problems when it came to prosecuting Chambers for the shooting. Chambers pointed to Foster as the shooter, but Foster had already cut a deal with prosecutors to testify against Chambers. In the end, after much finger pointing, Chambers was acquitted on all charges, which included murder, bias intimidation, and two weapons charges.
The file on Victoria Carmen White’s murder is officially closed–the individuals who were involved in her death were able to either plea out in exchange for testimony or confuse the jury, and were absolved of any wrongdoing.
We must remember that despite the advances, there are still people who die every year simply because of their gender identity.
Transform your faith into action by holding a Transgender Day of Remembrance vigil in your community and increase awareness of the senseless murders that continue to happen both here and abroad.
There are many ways to have a vigil. Light a candle for each person and read their names aloud—it may be the only time they are recognized as murder victims. Put their names on a star or on a placard and lay down in a public die-in for 5 minutes to create awareness about the murders. Please join with local LGBT organizations or consider hosting the TDOR in your congregation.