A tree of life has been put in the hallway of the OC3400 building in front of the Social Justice and Equity Center for the Transgender Day of Remembrance, which honors those who have been murdered in the past year due to transphobia.
2015 had one of the highest transgender homicide rates on record. Congress has taken note of this trend and formed a congressional task force on the issue. In that year alone, there were at least 21 documented transgender homicides, however, this number is likely to be underreported and none were prosecuted as hate crimes. As of today’s date, the numbers for 2016 are on par with last year. “Transgender women face 4.3 times the risk of becoming homicide victims than the general population of all women,” said the Human Rights Campaign.
The annual event was founded by Gwendolyn Ann Smith and was originally created to memorialize Rita Hester, who was murdered on November 28, 1999. The Transgender Day of Remembrance is meant to raise awareness and educate the general population on the dangers transgender individuals encounter each day. This day of remembrance is observed annually on Nov. 20. This years’ vigil will take place at the Oceanside Library in the community rooms hosted by the North County LGBTQ Center.
“I am no stranger to the need to fight for our rights, and the right to simply exist is first and foremost. With so many seeking to erase transgender people sometimes in the most brutal ways possible — it is vitally important that those we lose are remembered, and that we continue to fight for justice,” said Smith.