For Pagans, Samhain is the time of year where we honor our ancestors, honor those who were killed in the name of witchcraft (most of whom were innocent), and cross over those whom we lost during the year. It is a time of remembrance that launches our tide of Geburah where we shed the outmoded, outworn, and useless to become something better in Spring. So it is the perfect time of year for us to stand in solidarity with our LGBTQIA brethren for Trans* Day of Remembrance.
The Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoR) is reported to have been created in 1998 by Gwendolyn Ann Smith to memorialize the murder of Rita Hester in Allston, Massachusetts . Since the 1999 vigil held, it has continued on every Nov 20th to remember not only those who self-identify as transgender but also those who were transsexual, crossdressers, or otherwise gender-variant victims of violence due to their perpetrator’s phobia and/or hate against transgender people.
Communities hold Transgender Day of Remembrance events for many reasons:
#1. It helps raise public awareness about the issue. Hate crimes against the gender-variant are glossed over or ignored entirely by most communities, with the victims of the crimes often misnamed (birth name rather than legally changed name or AKA) or improperly gendered (birth gender rather than gender lived or in transition to) if there is any media coverage at all.
#2. It allows the LGBTQIA and Allies a way to stand united to mourn for friends/family they have lost, for those who were killed for being “like them”, and for those who may have no one else mourn for them, since so many LGBTQIA are STILL cast away from blood family & friends due to our society’s puritanical ideologies.
#3. It reminds non-gender variant people that we of the LGBTQIA community are SOMEONE’S child, mother, father, sister, brother, best friend, partner, co-worker, fellow parishioner, etc and as HUMANS are worthy of the same rights to safety, and freedom from persecution as every other human.
So before I list this year’s names for remembrance let me share with you the writings of Rev. Paul Langston-Daley “As November 20th approaches, I will hold in my heart all of the transgender individuals who have made the brave move to be seen for who they truly are, as well as those who are still too afraid to be their authentic selves. I will hold in my heart the families and loved ones of those individuals whose bravery was met with misunderstanding, ignorance, fear and anger. I will even hold in my heart those who are unaware, ignorant and afraid, in the hope that they will understand and find compassion and love.”
UNITED STATES VICTIMS TO REMEMBER 2013
*Died 1/1/13 Evon Young (age:22) Tied up, beaten with fists and other objects, choked with a chain, had a bag taped over his head, shot, set on fire, and discarded into a dumpster.- Milwaukee, Wisconsin
*Died unknown, found 2/14/13 Milan Boudreaux and her partner Akeem, both shot in the head Metairie, LA
*Died 3/27/13 Cemia “CeCe” Dove (age:23) Multiple stab wounds, tied with a rope to a block of concrete and thrown in pond. – Cleveland, Ohio
*Died 4/3/13 Kelly Young (Age 29) – Shot – Baltimore, Maryland
*Died 4/11/13 Ashley Sinclair (age 30) – Beaten & shot in the head. – Orlando, FL
*Died 5/29/13 Wanda (Antonio Lee age 49) – Shot 5 times answering the door of the sick friend she was caring for – Tampa FL
Died 7/7/13 Unknown woman – Found floating in a gully – Houston, Texas
Died 7/12/13 Valarie (Jock Maurice McKinney age 50) – Gunshot to her lower body. Shreveport,Louisiana
*Died 7/14/13 Diamond Williams (age:31) Hacked to death with an axe, body parts thrown in a field. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
*Died 8/7/13 Islan Nettles (age:21) Blunt force trauma, removed from life support at brain death- Harlem, New York
*Died 8/20/13 Domonique Newburn (age:31) Multiple stab wounds. – Fontana, CA
*Died 8/30-8/31/13 Konyale Madden (age:34) Beaten to death – Savannah, Texas
Died 9/6/13 Terry Golston (age 44) Shot 3 times – Shreveport,Louisiana
Died 9/12/13 Shaun Hartley (age 31) – Beaten to death – Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Died 9/9/13 Melony Smith (age:28) Beaten to death – Baldwin Park, California
*Died 9/24/13 Eyricka Morgan (age:26) Stabbed – New Brunswick, New Jersey
NORTH CAROLINA VICTIMS TO REMEMBER
Died 4/14/09 Jimmy McCollough (stage name Imaje Devera / Image Devereux Age: 34) – Stabbed and dumped near Club Emages in Fayetteville NC
Died 4/3/10 Toni Alston (age 44) Shot to death in front of her home – Charlotte, North Carolina
For more information on events in your area see http://www.transgenderdor.org/