Lest We Forget
Irish LGBTs are about to take the next step on the journey to equality. The Partnership Bill isn’t perfect but it’s a step on the road. When forging ahead, it’s always important to look back, to use the past as a touchstone, grounding us as a community and reminding us where we come from, what we’ve achieved and the people who have helped us achieve it.
Friday November 20, is the 11th International Transgender Day of Remembrance, a day set aside to mark those who have died as a result of anti-trans prejudice. The event is held to honor Rita Hester, whose murder on November 28th, 1998 inspired the tradition. Rita’s killer has yet to be brought to justice; something which is all too common in cases involving transgender victims.
Off the top of your head, I bet you can name at least one other (in)famous trans murder – Brandon Teena, whose brutal murder was captured on the screen in Boys Don’t Cry. That’s just one of millions. According to Questioning Transphobia, every three days a trans-person is reported murdered.
The report is a depressing reflection on the how trans-people are treated in the world today. Most of these murders are brutal; “5 of the reported murdered trans persons were found tortured or dismembered in the first six months of 2009″.
More worrying is the fact that trans-people don’t feel protected by police and are more likely to be the receivers of mockery than sympathy from those who should be assuring their safety.
According to the organisers of the Transgender Day Of Remembrance:
The even serves several purposes. It raises public awareness of hate crimes against transgender people, an action that current media doesn’t perform. Day of Remembrance publicly mourns and honors the lives of our brothers and sisters who might otherwise be forgotten.
Through the vigil, we express love and respect for our people in the face of national indifference and hatred. Day of Remembrance reminds non-transgender people that we are their sons, daughters, parents, friends and lovers.
Day of Remembrance gives our allies a chance to step forward with us and stand in vigil, memorializing those of us who’ve died by anti-transgender violence.
As you read report after report of these killings there are a few terrifying similarities – many of the victims are still unidentified, many of the murders are frenzied attacks and most of their murders aren’t solved. According to statistics gathered by the Remembering Our Dead Web project ©, there have been 99 deaths so far this year. Ninety-nine people dead because they are a member of our community. Many of them may be nameless, but don’t let them be forgotten.
A Ceremony of Remembrance will be held in the Unitarian Church, St Stephens Green on Friday November 20 at 8pm. Everyone is very welcome. If you have anyone you wish to be remembered, you can email Lynda on email@example.com.
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