Transgender Day of Remembrance

Today is International Transgender Day of Remembrance.

"The Transgender Day of Remembrance was set aside to memorialize those who were killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice. The event is held in November to honor Rita Hester, whose murder on November 28th, 1998 kicked off the “Remembering Our Dead” web project and a San Francisco candlelight vigil in 1999. Rita Hester’s murder — like most anti-transgender murder cases — has yet to be solved." -http://www.rememberingourdead.org/day/what.html

Between 2004-2008 an average of 2.0 people have been killed each month in violence specifically related to transphobia. This rate has been on the steady increase. Between 1990-2000 the average was 1.44. The years 2000-2003 saw a jump to 1.78. Over 68% of these deaths are taking place in the United States and people of color are disproportionately targeted.

Supporting passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (H.R. 2015), with an inclusion of protections for gender identity is one tangible way to help reverse this trend. Currently transgender individuals have no federally protected right to work or obtain housing. This forces many into the dangerous street economy, which puts them at great risk for contracting diseases and encountering violence. Health insurance plans refuse to provide coverage for transgender individuals. Those who are able to acquire insurance through employment or government programs usually find that transgender related treatment is excluded.

It is time for this country to begin treating transgender individuals as citizens. Today we remember the devastating loss that occurs when human rights are denied.

Statistics courtesy of the Remembering Our Dead Web Project

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