Today’s post will not include jokes or cute stories. Murder and hate crime is no laughing matter.
At various dates in mid-November, memorial services are held throughout the United States and in some other countries, remembering those who were murdered because of their association with the transgender community. TDOR stands for Transgender Day of Remembrance.
I have to confess that for most of my life, spent in denial, I kept some distance from the transgender community and lurked deep in the background. So I only had a vague awareness of TDOR before I began my transition. I attended two TDOR services last year (November 2012). It was an eye-opener for me.
Part of the service was a processional before those assembled. I was among those who volunteered to be part of the processional. One by one, we were handed a slip of paper with the basic information about the victim and how they were murdered. We read that out loud to the rest of the assembly. Then we headed to the back of the line to continue the process until the last name was read. Some were so overcome with grief, they were only able to read one or two names before they had to retire to their seat. I remember one person who could not finish reading the information in their hand.
Only a couple of people made it all the way to the end. I was one of them, but it is stated merely as a fact, not a boast. I made the effort to steel myself at the beginning, willing myself back to the days when I repressed my emotions, because I felt a need to serve my community that I had neglected for so long, going above and beyond. I am not sure I will be able to do it again. I will find out soon.
The victims are usually people who identify in some way as transgendered. But there have also been victims who were active supporters for transgender rights. And sometimes a person is murdered because the murderer perceived them to be transgender.
A horrific example is that sometimes infants and young children have been murdered because of transphobia. Here are some examples:
– In December 1999, an unnamed infant was murdered in Dallas by strangulation and blunt force trauma to the head. The child had been born with ambiguous genitalia. The alleged murderer was the child’s mother.
– Mikey was a three year old child living in Riverside, California. His father repeatedly called him a sissy and would slap him to toughen him up. In August 2005, Mikey died in the hospital from internal injuries sustained when he was kicked, punched and dropped on his head. He was in his father’s care when it happened.
– Roy was a 16-month old toddler living on the Shinnecock Indian Reservation on Long Island, when he was killed by the mother’s boyfriend (not a member of the Shinnecock Nation) in August 2010. The boyfriend told police that he struck Roy with his closed fist several times, “trying to make him act like a boy instead of a little girl.”
According to the TDOR website, the murder of 44 transgender related victims have been reported since November 20, 2012 somewhere in the world. But that is not the whole story. There are many places in the world where these deaths go unreported or the transgender nature of the victim is covered up. Last year, the number of names reported was also in the mid-forties. Recently it was learned that the number should have been nearly triple that amount.
For those victims this past year whose age was known, the age range was from 13 to 42. Countries reporting murders include Brazil, Jamaica, Venezuela, United Kingdom, Guyana, Turkey, Mexico, Honduras, Colombia and France. Lest you think that this no longer happens in the United States, murders took place in the following locations: Orlando, Baltimore, Fontana (CA), Manhattan, Cleveland, New Brunswick (NJ) and Milwaukee.
No murder is a pretty sight. But in some of the cases reported, the murderer felt it necessary to choose a method that was especially cruel and sadistic. Warning, here are some of the more gruesome examples:
– Skull crushed by stoning
– Body thrown under a truck
– Stoned and stabbed in the neck with a broken bottle
– Trans partners who were both beheaded and burned
– Partially scalped and tortured
– Beaten, stabbed, shot and run over by a car
– Multiple stab wounds, tied to a block of concrete and thrown in a pond.
– Bludgeoned to death with a hammer
– And 2013 was ushered in with an extremely horrifying murder. On New Year’s Day, 22-year old Evon was tied up, beaten with fists and other objects, choked with a chain, had a bag taped over his head, shot, set on fire, and discarded into a dumpster.
Let me pose this question to you, especially if you have found your way to this website and have not been sympathetic toward transgender people. If outrage is called for, should it not be directed toward these murders and the murderers who committed them?
Whether you are transgender or not, if you have been moved by this post and would like to attend a TDOR near you, read more about it or do more about it, here is the link to the home page of the International Transgender Day of Remembrance. The locations, times and dates of the memorial services in November 2013 are listed on the home page. They are not sorted, so please be patient and scroll down until you find a location near you. If there are none near you, perhaps you are the person to help start one in your area?
Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. – Romans 12:19