On Transgender Day of Remembrance, we mourn the transgender and gender non-conforming people who have been killed in 2020. As we remember these remarkable individuals, we also condemn the sweeping discrimination and violence facing the transgender community and Black and Latinx transgender women in particular. With the memories of those we have lost in mind, we recommit ourselves to supporting our transgender and gender non-conforming clients and their communities.
In 1998, after Rita Hester, a transgender woman, was killed in the Alston neighborhood of Boston, the transgender activist Gwendolyn Ann Smith started a website called Remembering Our Dead to chronicle the epidemic of transgender homicides. A year later, transgender people in Boston and San Francisco held a vigil to honor Rita’s life and to mark the first Transgender Day of Remembrance. At the vigil in San Francisco, Smith read aloud the names of all who had been killed, a tradition that continues to this day.
According to TGEU, a global network of transgender rights organizations, at least 350 transgender and gender-diverse people have been murdered in the last year alone. 98 percent of those murdered identified as trans women or trans feminine. A full list of their names is available here.
In addition, the Human Rights Campaign reports that at least 37 transgender and gender non-conforming Americans have been killed in 2020. This staggering number is the highest number of recorded deaths since records began. The overwhelming majority of those killed were Black and Latinx transgender women. In following the tradition of the First Transgender Day of Remembrance, we encourage you to join us in reading their names, listed below, and to learn more about them here.