November 20, 2012 is TDOR.
Last week I was doing research of transgender people who have been murdered this year to prep for the Pride Center's event. This is not the most uplifting of projects to undertake; in fact it is depressing, sad, and angering.
This year the youngest transperson murdered, that I am aware of, was 16 at the time of their death. 16 years old.
The speakers at the event were passionate, loving, angry, supportive - in short all that they needed to be.
We came together in a circle for a candlelight vigil portion - using little battery operated candles. Someone walked around with little bios of some of the victims of hatred. We went around taking our turn reading these snippets, ringing a Tibetan bowl at the end of each short life story. It was hard not to have sobs rise up.
My reading said: Secil Anne was a young trans woman who lived in Antalya, Turkey. She was brutally murdered in July and is one victim in an onslaught of violence against transgender women in Turkey over the last few years. Dozens of trans people and allies gathered outside her apartment upon hearing of her death.
It is estimated that 256 trans people have been murdered in 2012. This is a 20% increase of the prior year. This link provides some more data, that while depressing, is important. In doing the research for this event, and listening to the readings tonight it is clear that more transwomen than transmen are victims in these murders, many of them are transwomen of color in the United States.
Do not let these deaths be in vain. Educate yourself, speak up against bias, mentor, befriend, listen to LGBT people who come your way.