Transgender Day of Remembrance

Kerry speaks out about transgender rights

Secretary of State John Kerry released a statement for Transgender Day of Remembrance.

Transgender persons around the world are targeted by rising levels of violence fueled by hatred and bigotry.

This is a global challenge and we all must do more to protect transgender persons on the basis of equality and dignity.



Transgender Day of Remembrance

TDoR initiated in 1999 by Gwendolyn Ann Smith ti memorialize the murder of Rita Hester in Allston, Massachusetts. It has been held annually ever since...on November 20.

At live gatherings, there is generally a reading of those who have died as a result of violence Over the past year.

This year, the list of verified victims contains 106 names, 66 from Brazil, 25 from the United States, three from Mexico, two from France and one each from Australia, England,Italy, India, Pakistan, the Philippines, Russia, Spain, Thailand, and Turkey.



Speaking for The Dead: Transgender Day of Remembrance

At some instant
one day
the words will cease to flow
their creator (or vessel)
having passed through
the Door
between herenow
and therethen

The words left behind
the ideas they expressed
the actions they instigated
will be all
that remains
to weigh the meaning
of this particular existence

Regret is extinguished
if the words
have expressed
concern and care
and a life lived well

--Robyn Serven
--September 21, 2007

Live fast, die young and leave a good-looking corpse!

--John Derek, Knock on Any Door (1949)

The quote is often erroneously attributed to James Dean.

Some of the murder victims whose stories are told after the break may have tried to live with that philosophy, but the violence visited upon them almost assuredly negated the last part. Being set on fire, run over by a car, shot in the face, or stoned to death usually preclude a "good looking corpse."

A few comments of note: In Brazil, where most of the murders took place, those who would probably be regarded as transgender women here are referred to as travesti (transvestites) and so male pronouns are most often used. I tried to correct that as much as possible. It is also the case that the Police in Brazil are whole-heartedly in favor of blaming the victim, so revenge, drug involvement, "working the program" (prostituting), revenge, or "reckoning" are almost always given as the suspected motives. Gay men in drag, on the other hand, are usually thought to be victims of homophobia. Finally, an autopsy of a transgender woman in Brazil is usually called a necropsy...a word which we reserve for non-sentient animals.

All of those comments may shed light on why there are so many murders in Brazil (77 out of the 121). The United States is second, with 10, (but we try harder...I'm sure we can catch up). Mexico is third with 9.

That works out to one murder of a transgender person about every 74 hours and 27 minutes.

For what it is worth, five of the victims and one of the killers had the last name of da Silva. Ages of the victims ran from 8-year-old Alex Madeiros to 52-year-old Betty Skinner. One of the victims was 16, while 5 were 18 and two were 19.

The list I have generated was collated from several sources, including the Transgender Violence Portal and Memorializing 2014 at the International Transgender Day of Remembrance site.



Transgender Day of Remembrance 2012









It was the autumn of 1998, late November. The previous month Matthew Shepard was found, barely alive and in a coma, having been tortured and tied to a fence near Laramie, Wyoming. The person who found the body thought at first it was a scarecrow.

Photobucket Hester had just returned from entertainment engagements in Europe. She was a statuesque (over 6 feet tall and around 225 pounds) drag performer. She is said to have had an overwhelming stage presence. She was also reported to be very kind and well-liked by everyone in the community.

She was always nice to everyone. She was very, very, very liked by the whole community, so what happened to her was like a real shock.

--Charito Suarez

Around 6:15pm on November 28 Rita Hester's neighbors heard loud banging coming from inside her Allston, MA apartment. One neighbor later reported that someone inside had yelled for help. Police were called and arrived around 6:30pm. They found Rita's lifeless body in the apartment. It had multiple stab wounds.



Danger, Will Robinson! Danger!

This past Tuesday evening I included the following snippet in my diary, School Daze.

The average person has a 1 in 15,000 change of being murdered. A transperson has a 1 in 13 chance of being murdered. Additionally transpeople are eight times as likely to commit suicide.

Rightly so, cordgrass commented:

you buried the lede

a transperson has a one in thirteen chance of being MURDERED! I had no idea! What does that say about our society?

Do you have more links for that?

The data was taken from one of my links, but it should rightly be viewed with some skepticism. So I went looking for the source. I had the advantage of knowing who it was, so that made my search easier. Back in 1999 Kay Brown (proprietress of Transgender Roadmap) shared the data with students in her class when she was the instructor for "20th Century Transgender History and Experience" at the Harvey Milk Institute in San Francisco, (Washington Blade, Dec. 10, 1999).



Gender Prison: School Daze

It really is about the next generations, you know.

Or should be. For someone like me, at age 64, my life either has been ruined already…or it has not. Being treated as an equal would be nice for a change, but I've managed to get by without that so far. I can probably continue to do so until I die…though I admit to worrying about what might happen to me if I have to end up in a nursing home.

That's why, I guess, I've been more than a little uptight about our recent sale of Debbie's mother's condo in Los Angeles. We're planning to use the proceeds from that sale to purchase a place in which Debbie and I can live in the retirement I'm planning to start in about a year and a half.

But like I said, it's not about me. I can manage, thank you.

Most of you know that I'm a college professor. I've been a teacher for 36 years and I plan to retire at the end of next academic year. I tell my students that I started going to school in kindergarten and have been going ever since (except for a few brief interludes). At some point they decided to call me a teacher and start paying me, but I'm just basically going to school every day like them.

Tonight I have a trio of stories with school settings.


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