Last night, November 20th, was the Boston gathering to witness the tenth national Transgender Day of Remembrance, an event started, sadly and with much outrage, when Rita Hester was brutally murdered. Since then, TDOR has grown from a small candlelit vigil and march through Rita’s neighborhood, to an international event, taking place in cities and towns across the world. I wish that there was no TDOR, because I wish there was no more violence perpetrated upon us because of hatred for who we are in our bodies.
Each year, we gather and read of the list of our trans siblings lost to violence that same year, a painful and poignant list compiled by dedicated activists who are determined that this violence be witnessed. The list is often detailed and difficult in its recounting of the nature of the murders. Last night, as I knelt weeping on cold concrete, I was struck by how many of us were slaughtered in a sexual context or were sexual victimized as part of the assault. And by just how many of our lost siblings who suffered these terrible murders were women, female identified, female presenting. And how many of our siblings, lost to these murderous assaults were so victimized because they were condemned as having crossed the boundaries of what their assailants deemed permissible for a perceived woman to do.
I am just barely articulate. I am still cold and grieving, but I do know, for certain, that until we as a people are willing to confront all that makes coercion and violence an acceptable form of relating to women, these sorts of acts will continue to be perpetrated against anyone whose gender identity and presentation challenges or subverts the cis-gendered, heteronormative, masculinist paradigm.