On Transgender Day of Remembrance, looking back and moving forward

In the last 20 years, four transgender women have been violently killed in the state of Ohio. As Buzzfeed News points out, the state still doesn’t have a statute that allows violence like this to be prosecuted as a hate crime, even though many Ohio cities have strong laws to protect the LGBT community.

And this sad reality is not just Ohio specific. Across the country, violent incidents against transgender people continue to pile up, and even so legal protections for prosecuting these actions as hate crimes are far too scant. According to the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, 67% of all hate-motivated homicides of LGBT people were of transgender women. 67%.

Today is the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance, a day to reflect, mourn, and remember victims of hate and violence, victims like those four trans women killed in Ohio. It’s a day to remember people like 25-year-old Ashley Sherman, killed last month in Indiana, or 28-year-old Tiffany Edwards, killed in June.

But it’s also a day to celebrate life, all of it, of people of all orientations. As Paris Lees points out in the Guardian, the violence against trans people is terrible and important and we shouldn’t forget it. But it’s also important to take a step back from it, too. She writes,

Yes. On this Transgender Day of Remembrance, let’s not just mourn the people we’ve lost to senseless hatred. Let’s resolve to make sure that every world citizen is afforded the same opportunity and rights.

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