On Saturday, November 20, over one dozen community organizations sponsor Richmond’s Transgender Day of Remembrance. Each year, the International Transgender Day of Remembrance honors the memory of persons murdered as the result of gender identity or expression.
Three events mark Richmond’s observance of the Transgender Day of Remembrance. On Thursday evening, November 18, Queer Action, a student group at Virginia Commonwealth University holds a candlelight vigil as part of its regular meeting.
Saturday November 20 at 10:30 A.M., on the South lawn of the Gay Community Center of Richmond, a southern magnolia will be dedicated to the memory of the lives lost to anti-transgender violence. At 7:00 P.M., a candlelight vigil will be held at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Richmond.
The date is significant as the anniversary of the murder of Rita Hester, a transgender woman; her death, in 1998, spawned the Remembering Our Dead website and a candlelight vigil the following year. From there, the Transgender Day of Remembrance has grown to be an international event, with observances in hundreds of cities around the world.
There have been 27 deaths that can be traced specifically to anti-transgender violence since the 2009 Day of Remembrance. Since the Day’s inception, the numbers per year have ranged from a low of 24 to a high of more than 200 last year. As with Rita Hester, many of these cases remain open and the assailants at large.
Sponsoring agencies for Richmond’s Day of Remembrance observance are: Equality Virginia; Gay Community Center of Richmond; Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network; GayRVA; James River Transgender Society; Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays; Rainbow Minute; Richmond Lesbian Feminists; Richmond Transformers; ROSMY; University of Richmond Student Alliance for Sexual Diversity; Virginia Anti-Violence Project; VCU LGBT Subcommittee; VCU Queer Action; St. Mark’s Episcopal Church