Barnstable MA (November 1, 2022) —This year marks the 24th anniversary of the Transgender Day of Remembrance. This year’s theme, “Resilience” hopes to create a space where people of all ages, races, genders, abilities, and classes can come together as a community to remember the victims of anti-transgender violence. A community vigil will be held in person on Thursday, November 17 from 5:30 PM to 9:00 PM at the Unitarian Church of Barnstable, 3330 Main St. Barnstable MA. The evening will include both live and previously recorded stories of resiliency from the Cape Cod Trans Community.
The Transgender Day of Remembrance began here in Massachusetts in 1998 in response to the tragic unsolved murder of Ms. Rita Hester, an African-American transgender woman, in Allston, MA. The “Remembering Our Dead” website project began in 1999, along with the first annual Transgender Day of Remembrance candlelight vigil in San Francisco to mark Ms. Hester’s death.
Unfortunately, anti-transgender violence has only risen since the first Transgender Day of Remembrance. As the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) notes, “transgender people living at the intersections of other marginalized identities, such as immigrants, people of color, and people with disabilities, experience higher rates of violence” and other unique barriers to their safety.
2022 has already seen at least 32 transgender people fatally shot or killed by other violent means. The true number is likely much larger, as too often these stories go unreported or misreported. In previous years, the majority of victims of transphobic violence were Black and Latinx transgender women. In 2021, the Human Rights Campaign tracked a record number of violent fatal incidents against transgender and gender non-conforming people, with 50 fatalities tracked.
For trans Americans, 2022 has been a year filled with fear and uncertainty. 155 bills aimed at restricting the lives of trans people have been proposed so far this year, with trans youth being the most frequent target of lawmakers.
There are bills aimed at preventing trans girls and women from playing on female sports teams, laws barring trans youth from using bathrooms and locker rooms that align with their gender identity, and restrictions on gender-affirming medical care. In addition, transgender people also face increased social stigma that includes barriers in employment, housing, healthcare, and other necessities that make them even more vulnerable. In the face of these ongoing and increasing headwinds to just living a life that cisgender people take for granted, the theme and stories of “Resilience” need to be heard more than ever.
The Transgender Day of Remembrance has become a time for the transgender community, allies, and advocates to gather, remember and honor the victims of anti-transgender hatred and violence. The day is now observed in over 200 cities in 21 countries around the world, including right here on Cape Cod. The Cape Cod Transgender Day of Remembrance Committee invites all transgender, gender non-conforming, and gender-fluid people, and all allies of the community, to attend this vigil. Click here to RSVP on the Eventbrite page.