A sobering, continued call to action as we remember the transgender community members we have lost to anti-transgender violence in 2018.
Trans Day of Remembrance began back in 1999, in memory of Rita Hester, a Black trans woman from Boston who was stabbed to death the year before.
This year we remember the more than 20 trans people, primarily trans women of color, who have been murdered in the U.S. in 2018.
It’s difficult to know the full scale of the problem. When a transgender person is killed, each step in the process of accounting for their death risks erasing that person’s gender identity. Many can’t spare the expense of having their names and gender markers updated on government documents. Law enforcement and coroner’s offices are not trained to identify transgender victims. Immediate family members who reject a trans person’s identity often withhold it from authorities. When the press learns of these murders, local reporters often don’t have the knowledge or information to investigate whether the victims were trans. The United States Census does not track transgender people, and while the FBI added gender identity as a category in its annual self-reported hate crimes report in 2014, the agency does not track gender identity along with its homicide statistics.
Because no government agency consistently tracks violence against transgender people, the job is left to a decentralized and largely informal network of LGBTQ organizations and activists to account for trans murder in America.
While the number of transgender homicides each year may seem small, it represents a rate of violence that far exceeds that of the general population. And the trend seems to be rising.
What’s less clear is if the number of violent incidents is actually increasing along with the rate of reports about them. Without a log of historical data, it’ s hard to know how today’s anti-trans violence compares to even a decade ago.
For many trans people, nearly every space brings with it the potential for danger — at home or on the street, with strangers or acquaintances, around their romantic partners or their families.
Advocates for the transgender community call for greater public awareness, the simple recognition of the extent to which trans lives are imperiled in the United States, especially among people of color.
We say their names, remember that they are loved, and recommit to working to stop the insidious transphobic, racist, sexist, and homophobic violence so inherent in our society.
Sasha Wall, 28
Dejanay Stanton, 24
Amia Tyrae, 28
Shantee Tucker, 30
Zakaria Fry, 28
Sasha Garden, 27
Phylicia Mitchell, 46
Cathalina Christina James, 24
Gigi Pierce, 28
Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien, 42
Viccky Gutierrez, 33
Tonya Harvey, 35
Celine Walker, 36
Carla Patricia Flores-Pavon, 26
Antonia “Antash’a” English, 38
Keisha Wells, 58
Vontashia Bell, 18
Londonn Moore, 20
Diamond Stephens, 39
Nino Fortson, 36
Nikki Enriquez, 28
Ciara Minaj Carter Frazier, 31