On the heels of historic election victories for Danica Roem and Christine Hallquist, it's important to remember where we came from — and how far we still have to go. Transgender Day of Remembrance was created to honour those members of the transgender community who were victims of violence in the past year, but also to inspire action towards a safer future.
The US-based Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation released A National Epidemic: Fatal Anti-Transgender Violence in America in 2018, an annual report that details the brutality suffered by the transgender community in this past year. At least 22 transgender people were killed in 2018, with 82% of them being women of colour. 64% were younger than 35 years old and 55% lived in the South.
This year, we mourn Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien, Viccky Gutierrez, Celine Walker, Tonya “Kita” Harvey, Zakaria Fry, Phylicia Mitchell, Amia Tyrae Berryman, Sasha Wall, Karla Patricia Flores-Pavón, Nino Fortson, Gigi Pierce, Antash’a English, Diamond Stephens, Keisha Wells, Cathalina Christina James, Sasha Garden, Dejanay Stanton, Vontashia Bell, Shantee Tucker, Londonn Moore, Nikki Enriquez and Ciara Minaj Carter Frazier.
Members of the transgender community in the UK also continue to face violence. In the last year, the number of hate crimes recorded by the police on the grounds of sexual orientation and being transgender increased by 27% (from 7,194 in 2015-16 to 9,157 in 2016-17) and 45% (from 858 in 2015-16 to 1,248 in 2016-17) respectively.
The HRC report also addresses the main factors that contribute to ongoing transgender violence, like the "systemic discrimination" that can make it hard for them to find employment and housing, leading to dangerous living and working conditions. The HRC also offers solutions like gun reform and non-discrimination protections to help the transgender community.
"Even as we pursue these immediate and largely reactive solutions, we must simultaneously address the root causes of violence to make our communities safer for everyone," said Chad Griffin, president of HRC. "It is unacceptable that transgender and gender-expansive people are killed simply because of who they are."