By Erin Rook, PQ Monthly
The Northwest Gender Alliance, TransActive, and TriplePoint Youth Group are kicking of Transgender Awareness Week Monday, Nov. 12 in Vancouver with a Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) Event. The Vancouver event will be held 7 p.m. at the First Congregational Church (1220 NE 68th St.).
Transgender Day of Remembrance began as “Remembering Our Dead,” a 1999 web project and San Francisco candlelight vigil to honor Rita Hester, a transgender woman whose Nov. 28, 1998 murder remains unsolved. Now, communities around the world memorialize those killed to anti-trans hate, typically on Nov. 20.
The organizer of Remembering Our Dead, Gwendolyn Ann Smith, explains the purpose of the day:
Although not every person represented during the Day of Remembrance self-identified as transgender — that is, as a transsexual, crossdresser, or otherwise gender-variant — each was a victim of violence based on bias against transgender people.
We live in times more sensitive than ever to hatred based violence, especially since the events of September 11th. Yet even now, the deaths of those based on anti-transgender hatred or prejudice are largely ignored. Over the last decade, more than one person per month has died due to transgender-based hate or prejudice, regardless of any other factors in their lives. This trend shows no sign of abating.
The Transgender Day of Remembrance 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.
A number of events will be held in Portland during Trans Awareness Week and on Trans Day of Rememberence including Q Center’s TransConnect Resource Fair and TDOR events at Portland State University and Metropolitan Community Church on Nov. 20. For more information on these events, and an interview with PSU’s TDOR keynote speaker Janet Mock, check out the Nov./Dec. issue of PQ Monthly, out in print and online Nov. 15.
For more information on the Vancouver event, call 503-533-8787. The event is free to attend, but donations may be made to TransActive.