November 20 is the Transgender Day of Remembrance, an annual event designated to memorialize those who have been killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice. The event was started in 1999 by transgender advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith to honor Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was murdered on November 28th, 1998. Eighteen years after the first event was held in San Francisco, there are today vigils, teach-ins, and other events are held in communities across the globe to mark the occasion.
According to the Human Rights Campaign, at least 25 transgender people were killed in the U.S. in 2017, more than in any year in at least a decade. Eighty-four percent were people of color, and 80 percent were women. As the HRC notes, the “at least” caveat reflects the fact that such deaths are often underreported: “Data collection is often incomplete or unreliable when it comes to violent and fatal crimes against transgender people. Some victims’ deaths may go unreported, while others may not be identified as transgender in the media, often because authorities, journalists and/or family members refuse to acknowledge their gender identity.”
To learn more about the the deadly violence faced by transgender people, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation and the Trans People of Color Coalition (TPOCC) released a new report, A Time to Act: Fatal Violence Against Transgender People in America in 2017. The report shares the personal stories of transgender people were killed in 2017, and also discusses the systemic discrimination faced by transgender individuals and key steps to addressing anti-transgender violence.