Transgender Day of Remembrance

Natalie Lapointe, Staff Writer

Phillips Church in Exeter, New Hampshire was filled with buzzing excitement on November 20, 2016, when the church celebrated Transgender Day of Remembrance. There was an appearance by the members of the TransPosition Vocal Ensemble. The ensemble is a singing group completed with only transgender members from Manchester, New Hampshire. The mood turned to somberness when organizers of the event began to read off the list of 295 transgender people who were killed in 2016 due to anti-transgender violence.

Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoR) is an annual observance on November 20th that honors the memory of those whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence. The Transgender Day of Remembrance was started by transgender advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith as a vigil to honor the memory of Rita Hester, a transgender woman killed in 1998. The vigil commemorated all the transgender people lost to violence, such as physical abuse and gun violence, that year and began an important memorial that has become the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance.

“Trans Day of Remembrance is really important because it recognizes the unfair deaths of people killed solely for being alive and different,” said Gabe Lescatre, a senior at Goffstown High School.

Exeter was just one of the many cities that recognized Transgender Day of Remembrance. Transgender people and supporters came out in six different places in Maine to honor those who have passed on due to anti-transgender violence. The biggest gathering was in Portland, Maine. The mood was also melancholy, as candles were lit and people read the names of those who lost their lives in the year of 2016.

“Many people have died just because others have found out they’re trans and it’s not okay. Being trans shouldn’t end up being a person’s motive to harm someone else, because we’re human and we’re just trying to live our lives as who we really are,” commented Cassander Christopher-Ember Robin, senior at Goffstown High School, when asked about his feelings towards Transgender Day of Remembrance.

Transgender Day of Remembrance is not just to remember those who have passed, but it is also a time where people who are transgender think back to themselves and remember all of the violence, such as physical abuse, and verbal abuse, they have gone through to get where they have gotten today.

For sophomore, Shane Hatch, who also attends Goffstown High School, “being trans is not a lifestyle or a choice. It’s about being who you are, even though the world might not like it. Being who you really are is a something few people can do. Realizing that I can be a person or a somebody that I can love is huge!”

For transgender people like Shane, being trans is not a choice. That is what Transgender Day of Remembrance is about. Transgender Day of Remembrance is showing people that everyone one is accepted no matter what.