Hate crime victims remembered
November 20, 2014
Today is the International Transgender Day of Remembrance, a day set aside to remember victims of hate crimes due to anti-transgender hatred and prejudice.
On campus a group called the Transgender Inclusive Action Committee commemorates this day by honoring those who have lost their lives by posting photos of the victims on some of the campus’ main buildings. There will be photos of victims along with their stories to raise awareness of the transgender community.
The group is a small ad hoc committee comprised of students and faculty who identify as transgender or gender queer. The group doesn’t feel that the trans community feels safe on campus.
“We hope to provoke a conversation about what we might do to become a trans-inclusive campus,” said a member of the group, who preferred to remain anonymous.
The posting of the photos hopes to double as a trans rights campaign, which will explain to the campus population what the trans community feels needs to be respected and visible on this campus. Some examples include faculty and staff not using student’s preferred pronouns, too few gender neutral bathrooms on campus, university forms not accounting for the multiplicity of genders and more.
This day originated in November 1999 to remember the life of Rita Hester, a transgender African American woman who was murdered the year before in Allston, Mass. by an unknown assailant. On this day, people gathered in San Francisco to hold a candlelight vigil in her memory. This also initiated the “Remembering Our Dead” web project, which is a website filled with names of transgender individuals that have been murdered due to their identity.
In 2012, the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs reported that there had been 2,016 documented incidents of anti-LGBTQ violence. In the same year, they documented 25 anti-LGBTQ homicides, which was the 4th highest yearly total ever recorded by the NCVAP. The year prior ranked the highest with 30 documented homicides.
Bullying continues to be a widespread problem: 78 percent of National Transgender Discrimination Survey respondents who identified as transgender or gender-nonconforming reported being harassed while in grades K-12; 35 percent were attacked and 12 percent sexually assaulted.
Bucket Manyweather, social justice coordinator for the Diversity Center on campus, says that Trans Day of Remembrance is a very important yet overlooked day.
“I hope it serves its purpose of remembering those who have had brutality forced upon them,” said Manyweather. “We must remember that this victimization happens everywhere.”
California State University, East Bay has made attempts to accommodate the LGBTQ community by adding gender-neutral housing and gender-neutral bathrooms, but members of the advocacy group feel that there’s still more work to be done.
A member of the group added, who also wished to remain anonymous, “We want people to understand that although there is a lot more awareness surrounding issues of the queer community, there are still identities that are being overlooked and even erased.”