Tyli’a Mack and Paulina Ibarra were among the many who were stabbed to death. Kamilla was shot by her boyfriend after he discovered she had been born male. Several others were beaten and left to die. In total, at least 97 transgender people were murdered in 2009.
Today marks the 11th International Transgender Day of Remembrance, which honors victims of anti-transgender violence. The devastating list of people to memorialize is vast and heartbreaking. The day of remembrance began after Rita Hester, a transgender woman, was brutally murdered in 1998. As we honor these important people, it is imperative that we also focus on ways to create a safer existence for transgender and gender non-conforming individuals.
In many ways, the transgender community has been left behind in this equality movement. An increased focus on legal relationship recognition for gay and lesbian couples has taken away resources from issues more pressing to the trans community. If we are going to make a dent in anti-transgender violence, significant resources need to be dedicated to education and understanding of the issues facing trans people.
Many allies, though committed to LGBT rights, remain ill-equipped to talk about transgender equality. Everyone in the movement needs to make a concerted effort to improve their individual trans IQ.
What better time than Transgender Day of Remembrance to start improving your trans awareness? Candlelight vigils are being held all around the globe tonight. Find the one closest to you and take this opportunity to learn more about this important movement.