Transgender Day of Remembrance


Tonight Perth’s LGBTIQ+ community to will come together for a candlelight vigil to remember people who are transgender who have lost their lives through violence or suicide.

The international events grew out of a memorial for Rita Hester. Hester was murdered in Alston, Massachusetts on November 28th 1998. The following Friday 250 people attended a candlelight vigil called ‘Remembering Our Dead.

Since then the movement has grown to be an international  event observed in over 185 countries around the world.

The goal of the candlelight memorial is to play respect to the transgender people who have been killed in the last year. Shockingly, on average a transgender person is murdered every 39 hours worldwide, whilst one in four transgender people attempt suicide at least once in their lifetime.

The day of rememberance also draws attention to press coverage of crimes committed against transgender people. Often reporting of these crimes is delivered in a sensationalist manner with a focus on the gender characteristics of the victim.

Among the people being remembered at tonight’s event is  Diana Sacayán, an leading trans activist in Argentina. Sacayán was found in her apartment in Buenos Aires in October,her hands and feet were bound and she had been stabbed.

Sacayán was the leader of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) and drew significant media attention in Argentina in 2012 when she was pesented with her female identity card by the country’s president.

Two men have since been arrested for her murder, but despite Sacayán being a prominent member of the trans community many  media outlets in the country have reported the stories using the victims former gender.

Mercedes Williamson became the ninth transgender woman to be killed in the United States in 2015 when she was beaten to death. Williams was just seventeen years old.

In August 20 year old Amber Monroe was shot in Michigan USA. The young woman was a sex worker and friends recounted that she’d been shot several times before, but this time “she didn’t make it”.

All too often, police investigating crimes against transgender people fail to acknowledge their chosen gender. Such was the case with 66 year old KC Haggard who was stabbed several times in the early morning in Fresno, California this July.

Police reported the case as a man being stabbed to death despite the victim having being dressed as a woman and having lived as a woman for many years.

Fresno police Lt. Joe Gomez said the department refers to crime victims by their physiological sex and will only note a person’s transgender status if that information will help the investigation.

Gomez told reporters that investigators had received no information indicating that Haggard was transgender. Despite the fact she was wearing a dress and cardigan, carry a handbag at the time of her assault, which was captured on CCTV.

These are just a stories about the hundreds of people who are bullied, abused, assaulted and murdered because of their gender presentation.

Transgender Day of Remembrance is taking part at the Urban Orchard from 8pm this evening.