Utahns will gather today in Taylorsville to honor members of the transgender community who lost their lives to violence over the last year.
The international Transgender Day of Remembrance, which today enters its 15th year, began in San Francisco in 1998 after Rita Hester, a trans-woman, was stabbed to death in her apartment in the Boston area.
Shortly after Hester’s death a website was launched called “Remembering Our Dead.” The website documents the deaths of transgender individuals, or those perceived as transgender, over the past 15 years.
To this day, Hester’s murder remains unsolved, but each year memorials are planned to remember not only Hester, but the many other transgender individuals that are targets of violence throughout the United States.
Trans-women of color are particularly likely to be targets of violence.
“While we see deaths of trans-men or perceived trans-men, the overwhelming majority of those killed, especially in the United States, are non-affluent trans-women of color,” said Connie Anast-Inman, executive director of TEA of Utah, in a press statement. “This is an indication of something larger. This is trans-phobia, misogyny, socio-economic status and racism intersecting.”
Each year, Utahns mourn the loss of members of the Transgender community by holding a candlelight vigil in conjunction with many other such vigils across the United States and throughout the world. Salt Lake City Police Chief Chris Burbank will join the Transgender Education Advocates and Equality Utah this year to honor the many lives lost.
The candlelight vigil will be held tonight (Wednesday, November 20, 2013) at Arbor Manor Reception Center, 2888 West 4700 South in Taylorsville. Doors will open at 6:30, program will begin at 7:00 pm, with a reception to follow. The event is free and open to the public. Age-appropriate children are welcomed, families are encouraged.