Honoring Lives Lost to Anti-Transgender Violence


Zoe Toperosky (she/her), Staff Writer

November 20, 2021 was Transgender Day of Remembrance. This is a day where people remember and honor the transgender people that have lost their lives due to anti-transgender violence.



Here at Ida B. Wells-Barnett a ceremony was put on to honor the transgender lives lost. Candor Price (he/they) was the person who put together the event at IBW. Price said that he went on a college tour and discovered a poster advertising a trans remembrance day gathering, but he wasn’t sure exactly what it was so Price began to research.



Price learned more about trans remembrance day and consulted with another family member who said that they didn’t have a GSA (Gender Sexuality Alliance) or many other LGBTQ resources. “I saw my privilege in that moment,” Price, who is on the leadership team at our school’s GSA, said. “Having the support of faculty, adults, and students. I knew I needed to do something,” he said. “I immediately started planning.”

Transgender Awareness Day was inspired by a Black trans woman, Rita Hester. On November 28, 1998 she was killed in her apartment. Still to this day her case is unsolved, and when her case was published, Hester was referred to by the wrong name and pronouns. The year following her death Gwendolyn Ann Smith led a remembrance day to remember Hester and her life. Ever since then, this event has grown to include many communities that continue to observe trans awareness day.



“The ceremony went beautifully,” Price said, “Afterwards it became a social type event where we could talk about being trans and things we were struggling with at school, as well as general meeting each other.”



Price stood in front of everyone that attended and read a list of names, identities and ages of trans and gender non-conforming people who have passed due to anti-transgender acts of violence this year. It was very powerful. After all the names were read we took a minute of silence to honor the lives lost.




The importance of this day stays with many. “It’s a day where I remember those who lost their lives being who they are,” Price said. “It makes me see who’s fight I’m continuing and it also solidifies that I have to be myself regardless of how hard it gets.”

Sadly this year there were at least 50 reported anti-transgender crimes. We still have a long way to go but, Price is optimistic: “I’m hopeful for the day there are no names to read for that year, not because the crimes went unrecorded, but because no one got hurt for being who they are.”