By Editor-in-Chief Gabriella Barthe
The Transgender Day of Remembrance is observed annually on November 20 to honor the lives of those murdered as a result of their gender identity and expression. The tradition was started in 1999 to honor Rita Hester and all those who had died since her death one year prior.
The vigil takes place at the close of Transgender Awareness Week which runs from November 13 through November 19 to help raise awareness for issues faced by the community and the visibility of Transgender individuals.
The UMass Dartmouth Center for Women, Gender, and Sexuality hosts their own activities each year in line with these traditions. This year was no exception.
Wednesday, November 20, 2019 Dr. Juli Parker from CWGS with the help of thirteen individuals – many student volunteers – held a pop-up event at noon in campus center. During this time the thirteen volunteers read out the names and ages of the approximately thirteen women who were murdered this year for being transgender.
“There is an epidemic of violence targeting the trans community that disproportionately affects Black trans women and trans women of color. This is a disturbing pattern that persists year over year.” Dr. Juli Parker recounts for those in attendance, “GLAAD has been calling on the media for increased and accurate media coverage for years, which mainstream media has finally started toing. Now, the important part comes to shifting the narrative on transgender homicides to more than a number count.”
Due to misreporting, underreporting, specific cases not being reported, and individuals being misgendered in the reporting of crimes there is not an accurate count of how many transgender people have actually passed due to violence.
“We recommend for media to use the wording ‘at least’ when referring to the number of deaths because there is no way to count with perfect accuracy,” recounts Dr. Juli Parker.
For more information on Transgender Awareness Week, the Trans Day of Remembrance, or GLAAD you can check out the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLADD) website glaad.org.
For more information on the Center for Women, Gender, and Sexuality and their events on campus you can reach out to the office directly located in Campus Center 207, check umassd.edu/cwgs, join their myorgs page, or follow them on social media @umassd_cwgs.