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Transgender Day of Remembrance: 2017 Was the Deadliest Year on Record for Trans People

Trans Rights are Human Rights

The transgender community has gone through a series of social victories and losses this year. 2017 saw the election of Virginia Democratic candidate Danica Roem, an openly transgender woman, Trump’s completely and utterly wretched ban on transgender soldiers was blocked, and Ryan Murphy’s upcoming show, Pose, will provide an unprecedented opportunity by starring five trans actors.

However, we have a president who wants to ban transgender people from military service via Twitter proclamation, Jeff Sessions removed rights for trans workers, and the Marsha P. Johnson documentary issue proved that we still have a hard time getting trans stories told by trans people. Not to mention in this year, 25 trans people have been murdered, the deadliest year on record, according to The Daily Beast.

November 20 was declared “Transgender Day of Remembrance” in 1999, by Gwendolyn Ann Smith, to memorialize transgender victims of murder after she was moved by the story of Rita Hester, a black transgender woman who was stabbed in the chest 20 times inside her Boston apartment in November 1998—a murder that remains unsolved to this day.

The youngest victim this year was 17, and the oldest was 59.

At all sectors of society, from comedians who claim to be progressive to the average joe, people struggle to “understand” trans people, and when failing, decide to respond with ignorance and hatred. They think it’s funny to joke about killing trans women, make quizzes called “shemale or female,” or act as though intentionally misgendering someone is comedic instead of hurtful and cruel. Too many have used confusion or lack of knowledge to excuse the real issue: hate. Because a lack of understanding does not mean you have to strip trans people of their human rights and murder them brutally for doing nothing but living their truth.

So today, we remember those who were taken from us this year:

Mesha Caldwell: 41
Sean Hake: 23
Jamie Lee Wounded Arrow: 28
JoJo Striker: 23
Tiara Richmond: 24
Chyna Gibson: 31
Ciara McElveen: 26
Jaquarrius Holland: 18
Alphonza Watson: 38
Chay Reed: 28
Kenneth Bostick: 59
Sherrell Faulkner: 46
Kenne McFadden: 27
Kendra Marie Adams: 28
Ava Le’Ray Barron: 17
Ebony Morgan: 28
TeeTee Dangerfield: 32
Gwynevere River Song: 26
Kiwi Herring: 30
Kashmire Nazier Redd: 28
Derricka Banner: 26
Scout Schultz: 21
Ally Steinfeld: 17
Stephanie Montez: 47
Candace Towns: 30

(image: Justin Starr Photography /

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Princess (she/her-bisexual) is a Brooklyn born Megan Fox truther, who loves Sailor Moon, mythology, and diversity within sci-fi/fantasy. Still lives in Brooklyn with her over 500 Pokémon that she has Eevee trained into a mighty army. Team Zutara forever.