In an article for The Advocate, Beverly Tillery, executive director of the Anti-Violence Project (AVP) and a Black, cisgender lesbian, shared a powerful message to the transgender community in honor of Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR).
“An overwhelming majority of the transgender and gender-nonconforming people we lost to violence this year were women, and nearly all were transgender women of color. As a black cisgender (my gender identity matches the one I was assigned at birth) lesbian, I find these murders cut to my core,” Tillery wrote. “We are clearly in a state of emergency. None of our communities are immune to this crisis of brutality and violence that's rooted in racism, homophobia, and transphobia.”
TDOR is an annual event that gives communities an opportunity to come together and remember transgender people, gender-expansive individuals, and those perceived to be transgender who have been murdered because of hate.
“So today, while I speak the names of those we have lost, I also am sending out a message to the transgender women who are living,” she continued. “Even if we’ve never met, you are my sisters, and I stand with you to end the threats and attacks on your bodies and souls. For, until you are safe and free, none of us are truly free.”
Tillery’s message comes at a vital moment for the transgender community. While at least 21 transgender people were murdered in the United States this year, a majority of who were transgender women of color.
“So it is in this most awe-inspiring spirit of sisterhood that I send out this message to my transgender sisters across this country,” she concluded. “I see you. And I stand with and beside you.”
Earlier this week, AVP Community Organizer LaLa Zannell testified in Congress's first-ever hearing addressing violence against the transgender community.
TDOR began in honor of Rita Hester, whose murder on November 28, 1998, launched the ‘Remembering Our Dead’ web project and a San Francisco vigil the following year.
For more resources and a list of cities where HRC is participating in Transgender Day of Remembrance, please visit www.hrc.org/tdor. For a list of vigils and remembrances worldwide, visit www.transgenderdor.org.
For more information about HRC’s efforts toward transgender equality, go to hrc.org/transgender.
Also check out HRC’s Transgender Visibility Guide here.