Content Warning: Extreme transphobia, misogynoir
In recent years, previously unimaginable strides have been made towards granting transgender people the human rights they’ve deserved all along. An increasing number of states have created laws that prevent trans people from being discriminated against when seeking housing, employment, disability, and custody of children. Medicare covers hormonal transitions and the gender marker on passports and driver’s licenses can be changed, among other steps in the right direction. These changes have been brought about by brave individuals who live or have lived as their authentic selves in a world that treats nonconformists with hostility. While there is still a long way to go in terms of transgender inclusion, the opening up of dialogues is promising.
More people than ever before feel comfortable living as openly trans, non-binary, or gender nonconforming than in previous decades. This spike in trans visibility has prompted the emergence of the term “transtrender,” a portmanteau of transgender and trendy used to maliciously insinuate that trans identity is a bandwagon people can hop on and off of. I saw this term used on the internet to describe Gwynevere River Song, a transgender person who was killed in Texas earlier this year. It rattled me to my core. Gwynevere did not risk, and ultimately lose, their life to be trendy. They were given the impossible choice between stifling their true self or putting their life on the line by living as an openly trans person. We must continue to fight for a world where nobody is forced to make this decision.
On this Transgender Remembrance Day, we remember the transgender people who lost their lives for refusing to hide, for refusing to conform, for refusing to remain silent. Get to know their faces. Get to know their names. To remember them as the people they fought to the end to be is to give them one final victory. These are the twenty-five trans people who were hatefully murdered in The United States this year. May they rest in power.
Candace Towns was reported missing on October 29 and her body was found on October 31 in Macon, GA. She was 30 years old.
Stephanie Montez was found on October 21 in Robstown, Texas, but, due to misgendering by police and the media she was not identified as a transgender woman until October 27. She was 47 years old.
Ally Lee Steinfeld was reported missing on September 1 and her remains were found on September 21 in Cabool, Missouri. She was 17 years old.
Derricka Banner was killed on September 12 in Charlotte, North Carolina. She was 26 years old.
Kashmire Redd was killed on September 4 in Gates, New York. He was 28 years old.
Kiwi Herring was killed on August 22 in St. Louis, Missouri. She was 30 years old.
Gwynevere River Song was killed on August 12 in Waxahachie, Texas. Gwynevere was 26 years old.
TeeTee Dangerfield was killed on July 31 in Atlanta, Georgia. She was 32 years old.
Ebony Morgan was killed on July 2 in Lynchburg, Virgina. She was 28 years old.
Ava Le'Ray Barrin was killed on June 25 in Athens, Georgia. She was 17 years old.
Josie Berrios (also known as Kendra Adams and Kimbella Rosé) was killed on June 13 in Ithaca, New York. She was 28 years old.
Kenne McFadden was found on April 9 in San Antonio, Texas, but due to misgendering by police and the media she was not identified as a transgender woman until June 6. She was 27 years old.
Sherrell Faulkner was attacked on November 30, 2016 and died on May 16, 2017 in Charlotte, North Carolina. She was 46 years old.
Brenda Bostick was attacked on April 25 and died on May 4 in New York City. She was 59 years old. (There have been conflicting reports about the name this person used and their gender. It now seems clear that this person was assigned male at birth and lived at least part of her life as Brenda. Therefore we refer to her as Brenda and use female pronouns out of respect for that identity.)
Chay Reed killed on April 21 in Miami, Florida. She was 28 years old.
Alphonza Watson killed on March 22 in Baltimore, Maryland. She was 38 years old.
Jaquarrius Holland killed on February 19 in Monroe, Louisiana (identified as trans on February 28). She was 18 years old.
Ciara McElveen killed on February 27 in New Orleans, Louisiana. She was 21 years old.
Chyna Gibson killed on February 25 in New Orleans, Louisiana. She was 31 years old.
Keke Collier killed on February 21 in Englewood, Chicago. She was 24 years old.
JoJo Striker killed on February 8 in Toledo, Ohio. She was 23 years old.
Mesha Caldwell killed on January 4 in Canton, Mississippi. She was 41 years old.
Jamie Lee Wounded Arrow killed on January 1 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. She was 28 years old.
Names Via Glaad. Image via Instagram.