369 murdered mourned on Transgender Remembrance Day

Logan Metzger

Members of the LGBTQIA+ and straight community across the world mourn their losses today on Transgender Day of Remembrance.

This year 369 transgender individuals were killed from acts of violence, 23 of those individuals were from the United States, one for Oklahoma, two from Texas, one from New Mexico, one from Massachusetts, one from California, five Florida, one from New York, two from Ohio, two from Louisiana, three from Illinois, one from Georgia, one from Oregon, one from Mississippi and one from Pennsylvania, according to the Trans Respect verses Transphobia website

“Many trans people are not out and even if they are many of their families do not recognize them so they end up being buried under their dead names, which is an act of violence within itself,” said Roslyn Gray, president of Pride Alliance.

The last transgender individual murdered in Iowa was Kedarie Johnson in 2016. He was shot to death and found with a plastic bag shoved down his throat and his body doused with bleach on March 2, 2016, according to the New York Times.

“Transgender Day of Remembrance is an annual observance on November 20 that honors the memory of those whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence,” according to the GLAAD website.

Transgender Day of Remembrance was started in 1999 by Gwen Smith, a San Francisco based trans advocate, to track and memorialize those folks we have lost to anti-trans violence.

Smith founded the day after the November 28, 1998 murder of Rita Hester in Boston, who was stabbed multiple times, Hester’s murder has still not been brought to justice.

“Smith also organized a vigil in San Francisco on the one year anniversary of Hester’s death that grew into the Transgender Day of Remembrance event we are familiar with almost two decades later. The Transgender Day of Remembrance was rapidly adopted elsewhere in the United States and the rest of the world,” according to the Trans Griot website.

The Center for LGBTQIA+ Student Success has put out different social media posts that they have dubbed “10 Day of Trans Resilience” to show how transgender individuals lived their beautiful lives and the contributions they made.

“It is important to talk about the loss because the epidemic of violence against trans people, especially trans people of color, especially feminine trans people of color is high, it is rampant, it is daily, it’s something we need to acknowledge and be outraged by,” said Clare Lemke, assistant director for the Center for LGBTQIA+ Student Success.

The topics of the social media posts included music, art, fashion, jokes and documentaries from and about transgender and non-binary individuals.

“Iowa State needs to make it a priority to tell trans students that they are welcome. Considering that President Wintersteen said something basically not condoning Trump’s travel ban, but when Trump made the executive order to threaten trans people’s lives nothing, absolute silence from upper administration,” Gray said. “Iowa State should really a face that is inclusive and caring about the community, not just look we have diversity.”