Houston remembers those lost to anti-trans hatred.
by Megan Smith • Photo by Dalton DeHart
“It’s really scary that just having the courage to leave your home [can mean] you might be a target for violence—you might not make it back,” transgender activist and Orange Is the New Black actress Laverne Cox says during an interview with Logo before the debut of The T Word, her new documentary about the lives of transgender youth. “But that is the reality for far too many trans people around the world.”
On November 22, Houston marks the Transgender Day of Remembrance—a day set aside to memorialize those who were killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice—at the A.D. Bruce Religion Center, a campus space provided by the University of Houston’s LGBT Resource Center. The event is organized and presented by the Houston Transgender Unity Committee, a subcommittee of the Transgender Foundation of America.
In 2013, 72 percent of anti-LGBTQ homicides were transgender women, according to statistics provided by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs. Transgender people of color are particularly overrepresented in these homicide rates. “The Transgender Day of Remembrance is important in that it raises awareness that violence against trans people is still very real,” Monyque Starr, president of the Houston-based Transgender Foundation of America, says. “In light of so many successes in the political and legal worlds, people often forget that in the ‘real’ world, trans-hate still exists.”
The Houston event kicks off with a reception and social gathering at 7 p.m., with refreshments provided by HRC Houston. The event’s program follows at 8 p.m. with opening remarks, a choir performance, and scheduled speakers. Names, locations, and a short description of each trans-hate murder from the last year is then read. “This part can be a bit heavy, as we go through the entire list of names worldwide, and recount how they were killed,” Starr says.
This year, Starr adds, the names of those killed due to trans-hate are also to be tweeted out on their brand-new Twitter account (@DORHouston) as they are read aloud so that “people who may not be able to physically attend [can] still be part of the event and community.”
Those interested in volunteering for the event should contact Starr at [email protected] Donations are also accepted at donate.tfahouston.com. Find event updates for the Houston Transgender Day of Remembrance at tgdor.org.
What: Houston Transgender Day of Remembrance
When: November 22, reception at 7 p.m., memorial program at 8 p.m.
Where: A.D. Bruce Religion Center, 3800 Cullen Blvd. (Entrance 13, parking lot 13A)