Marking Transgender Day of Remembrance
The International Transgender Day of Remembrance has been set aside to memorialize and honor those who have been killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice, and Tuesday will mark the annual observance.
The event is in November, usually on the 20th of the month, and was started to honor Rita Hester, whose murder on November 28th, 1998 kicked off the “Remembering Our Dead” web project and a San Francisco candlelight vigil in 1999. Her murder has yet to be solved.
Yuman Michael H. Baughman, founder of The Amancio Project, said the event is a way for everyone to reach out and express tolerance, love and respect for human diversity.
“It's important from a human rights perspective, from a human perspective, so we don't have people out there killing because someone is perceived as different,” Baughman said. “By increasing public awareness about these crimes, we multiply the voices speaking up for equality, for protections, and for justice.”
Transgender crime, Baughman said, has sadly also affected Yuma with the brutal murder of Amancio Corrales in May 2005 because he wished to express himself by going out for a good time or often preforming professionally dressed as a woman.
Corrales' murder led to the formation of The Amancio Project as a community effort to comfort a grieving family, bring awareness to the issue of bias-based crime and find the assailant. In May 2007, the perpetrator was captured and in August 2008, he was sentenced to prison.
According to Baughman, over the past decade more than one transgender person a month has died in hate-based attacks, regardless of any other factors in their lives, and the trend doesn't seem to be stopping.
“It is still quite terrifying,” Baughman said. “Transgender deaths tend to be exceptionally violent and seem to invoke rage in the perpetrators.”
Baughman also said that it is estimated that one out of every 1,000 homicides in the U.S. is an anti-transgender hate crime. This estimation, he said, is based on data collected by the national organizers of the Transgender Day of Remembrance and the FBI.
The Transgender Day of Remembrance, Baughman said, has a number of goals. He said it raises public awareness of hate crimes against transgendered people, something he added he believes the media rarely does positively.
As part of the event, public vigils are held in many towns and cities throughout the country. However, Baughman said he does not know of any public gatherings scheduled in Yuma.
Ultimately, Baughman said he hopes the annual ceremony serves as a way to remind non-transgender people that the victims of the crimes, most of which are cruel and heinous, are other people's sons, daughters, parents and loved ones
James Gilbert can be reached at email@example.com or 539-6854. Find him on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/YSJamesGilbert or on Twitter @YSJamesGilbert.