‘All of These Victims Were Taken From Us Simply for Being Themselves’

Houston activists mark Transgender Day of Remembrance at A.D. Bruce Religion Center.


At least 274 transgender people, mostly women of color from South America, have been killed worldwide in the last year, according to Loren Turner of the Houston Transgender Unity Committee.

Turner and others read the names of all 274—including 22 from the U.S.—during a Transgender Day of Remembrance event Saturday, Nov. 17 at the University of Houston’s A.D. Bruce Religion Center.

“All of these victims were taken from us simply for being themselves,” Turner said. “This is completely unacceptable.”

The Houston Transgender Unity Committee (HTUC), along with UH’s LGBTQ Resource Center, put on the annual event to memorialize those killed because of anti-trans hate crimes.  

The names of each trans person murdered in the last year, along with locations and brief descriptions of the crimes, were read by Sister Jeff, Dana Louise, Payshunz Nagashima, Marcia Barnett, Dane Ashton, Mo Cortez, Cary Loughman, and Tarra Siobhan Bruder.  

To lift spirits, trans activist Andrew Shell closed the event by performing an original song called TDOR For Our Kind.

“The song is in remembrance of all of the souls that we have lost this year,” Shell said. “And a declaration from all of us here and to all of our kind, wherever they are.”

The ceremony was followed by a debriefing, featuring food, drinks, and music. Space City Sisters founder Lily Von Tease, also known as Sister Candice Bee Love, performed light tunes on her harp.  

Transgender Day of Remembrance is observed annually on Nov. 20 to memorialize those who have been murdered due to hate crimes and draw attention to the continued violence that the trans community faces. During the week of Nov. 12 through Nov. 19, organizations around the U.S. participate Trans Awareness Week to raise trans visibility and address trans issues.

On Nov. 20, the Montrose Center will host its annual Trans Community Thanksgiving Potluck. On Nov. 21, the Organizacion de Latinas Trans en Texas (OLTT) will mark TDOR and celebrate trans resistance over a Thanksgiving meal at the Texas Gulf Coast Area Labor Federation.

The trans people killed in the last year include three from Texas: Brandi Seals of Houston, Karla Patricia Flores of Dallas, and Nikki Janelle Enriquez of Laredo.

Photos by Alexis Melvin

Video by Lourdes Zavaleta: 


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Lourdes Zavaleta

Lourdes Zavaleta is the managing editor of OutSmart magazine.

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