Opinion | Don’t overlook Transgender Day of Remembrance

The transgender community faces an abundance of violence every year, it is important we all take a moment on Trangender Day of Remembrance to educate ourselves and honor those who have been killed.

Yassie Buchanan, Opinions Columnist

Friday is Transgender Day of Remembrance, a holiday with many of us might not be very familiar with.

Transgender Day of Remembrance is a day to recognize those who have been killed because of violence against the trans community. According to GLAAD, an LGBTQ rights advocacy group, Transgender Day of Remembrance began in 1999 and was founded by Gwendolyn Ann Smith, originally to honor the memory of Rita Hester, who was murdered in her own apartment.

As said in the piece done by GLAAD, Transgender Day of Remembrance is a perfect opportunity to get involved in a vigil that honors victims of violence against the transgender community. It is also a great time to educate yourself on the history of violence against the trans community.

According to the Human Rights Campaign, so far this year there have been at least 34 transgender or non-binary people murdered, with the majority of them being Black or part of the Latinx community.

These numbers are even more alarming when we consider, as said by CBS News, that many of the killings of transgender women go unreported or are misreported because law enforcement misgenders victims and uses their dead names.

Since the Human Rights Campaign started tracking the murders of transgender and non-binary people in 2013, they have seen a huge spike this year in the amount of violence trans and non-binary people are facing.

Around the same time last year, the Human Rights Campaign reported at least 20 murders of transgender and non-binary people. According to their data, 91 percent of transgender or non-binary murders were of Black women. Additionally, 81 percent of these people were under the age of 30.

These statistics are alarmingly devastating, and things have only grown worse this year. The transgender community has faced a long history of cruel violence that we all need to take a moment to acknowledge and educate ourselves on.

According to a survey taken in 2015 by VAWnet, a project of the National Resource Center for Domestic Violence, nearly half of the participants reported they had been verbally harassed in the past year on the basis of being transgender. Close to one in 10 participants reported being physically attacked in the past year because of being transgender.

With the increase in fatal attacks on the transgender community this year, I can only imagine how numbers from a survey like this have changed. The transgender community is clearly experiencing a crisis in the amount of violence they are facing.

Transphobia is incredibly dangerous. As humans, we need to be able to empathize with one another. The victims of these murders were real people robbed of their lives on the basis of their identity. The multitude of violence targeted at the transgender community needs to end.

There are plenty of places out there with information to educate ourselves on the violence and history of the transgender community. Additionally, there are plenty of resources that can be used to honor those that have been killed this year on Transgender Day of Remembrance.

In addition to educational resources, on-campus, members of the LGBTQ community can turn to organizations like the Pride Alliance Center and the UI Trans Alliance as safe spaces.

Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.