Indianapolis Community Hosts Vigil for Transgender Day of Remembrance
4th Annual Transgender Day of Remembrance Event Honors Twenty-Five Victims since 2001 Memorial
Event Honors Twenty-Five Victims since 2001 Memorial
Members of the transgendered and allied community in Indianapolis are invited to a candlelight vigil on Saturday, November 23rd to remember the lives of more than two dozen people lost in the past year due to violence motivated by fear and hatred of gender variant people. Lorraine Sade Baskerville, a transgender advocate and activist from Chicago, IL, will be a guest speaker at the vigil.
This year marks the first time Indianapolis has held local Transgender Day of Remembrance activities. Co-sponsors include the Indiana Transgender Rights Advocacy Alliance (INTRAA) and the Community Activist Network Developed by Youth (CANDY), a program of the Indiana Youth Group.
A total of 19 states and the District of Columbia will have Transgender Day of Remembrance events. Additionally, four countries - the United States, Canada, Chile and Spain - will be holding Day of Remembrance events. Several prominent web sites will also black out their main pages on November 20th, as a show of solidarity with the cause.
The event is designed to draw those from across the community to come out and recognize that each and every human is valuable and honored, that no one should ever be so marginalized that their death doesn't matter. From candlelight vigils to performance events and art installations, each city finds a unique way to make the lives of those murdered visible.
"Too often people want to make our dead into forgotten people," said event founder Gwendolyn Ann Smith, "Now, more than ever, we need to stand together and say that taking life from anyone is not acceptable. Now, more than ever, we must remember, and let those memories spur us to more education and more action to safeguard the diverse character of our communities."
Events this year include a candlelight march down Market Street in San Francisco, California, a rally in Washington D.C., the dedication of a permanent memorial space in West Hollywood, California, an on-campus event at Ohio State University, and a memorial service in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota.
The Transgender Day of Remembrance began in San Francisco in 1999 as a response to the murder of Rita Hester, a transgendered woman who was stabbed to death in her apartment. A murder that, like most transgender killings, remains unsolved.
Through the work of the Remembering Our Dead project which spawned the Transgender Day of Remembrance, it was discovered that an average of one person is reported dead due to anti-transgender violence every month. In 2002 this figure has doubled, with 24 cases since last year's event. Organizers point to better reporting, rather than an increase in crime, as a primary reason for this jump.
"Some might think that the rise in numbers points to an increase in deaths this year," Smith said, "While I think there may be some weight in that, I personally feel this points more to a heightened sensitivity to these cases in the media and amongst our community. The sad thing is that it could well mean that these cases have always happened in numbers like what we are finding now - and that there is a chance, perhaps a good one, that there are even more still out there we are missing."
Although not every person represented during the Transgender Day of Remembrance self-identified as transgendered - that is, as a transsexual, crossdresser, or otherwise gender-variant - each was a victim of violence based on bias against transgendered people.
Information on Transgender Day Of Remembrance events around the world is available online at http://www.rememberingourdead.org/
|Indianapolis Transgender Day of Remembrance Co-sponsors|