NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN ) – So far this year, at least 26 transgender Americans have been killed; we use the word “at least” because many of these deaths go misgendered. After a November Metro Council meeting, Nov. 20 is being recognized as “Transgender Day of Remembrance,” to honor the lives that have been violently taken.
When you find community, you often find yourself. However, on days like Monday, the signs signify a much deeper meaning and honor.
“In 1988 a trans woman by the name of Rita Hester was brutally murdered just being herself. It was never in the news, her name was never mentioned, and her roommate Gwendolyn Ann Smith decided to make a thing called ‘Transgender Day of Remembrance’ to say her name,” said Olivia Hill, Metro Councilwoman at Large.
Hill made history this year as the first trans person elected in Tennessee.
So far this year, the Human Rights Campaign has tracked at least 26 transgender and gender non-conforming people who have been killed violently. Of those people, 73% of them were killed with a gun, while half of them were misgendered or misidentified.
“We believe that number is much larger because so many police reports misgender people along with their families, and so we believe that number is much higher and we have Transgender Day of Remembrance to say their names, to show honor to who they are, what they stand for, and what they’ve been through,” said Hill.
The day remembers each person who has died all across the United States.
“Sad, sad,” Hill said as she described the feeling of the day. “That we’re still having these and that we shouldn’t have to have these days of just violence against hate of one human trying to be their true authentic self.”
The U.S. Department of State released a statement, stating in part, “Transgender persons experience disproportionately high levels of homicide and assault. Their families and loved ones too often see no justice.”
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During a press briefing, the White House also signified the day and brought attention to the disparity that often comes to trans people of color.
“Year after year, we see that these victims are disproportionately Black women and women of color. No one should face violence, live in fear, or be discriminated against simply for being themselves. As the president said, there is still more to do to meet the promise, and it is why this administration has taken urgent action to strengthen rights and protect the safety of Transgender Americans and all LGBTQ+ Americans.”