The world unifies to honor Transgender Day of Remembrance across the world today. There are a few weeks left to wrap up an emotional year and it has been the deadliest year on record for the trans community. It is important to honor those who have fallen and often times forgotten.
This day of observance was sparked by the gruesome death of Rita Hester. On November 28, 1998, Hester was brutally stabbed in her Boston apartment. Every November since her death, reporters have reached out to Hester’s family to rehash the details and get updates on the case. However, 22 years later, Hester’s murder goes unsolved.
The Hesters have been forced to relive the painful details of their family member 22 years later, because as fate would have it, Rita’s passing birthed a movement in the form of Transgender Day of Remembrance. This day is an annual vigil for transgender homicide victims and it has been essential in humanizing transgender people in the eyes of the media, the police and the general public. Unfortunately, for the transgender community, this day is the only annual holiday they publicly commemorate.
Although Hester is largely responsible for this day, most of the transgender community has no idea who she was. Transgender history is scarcely discussed in school systems, depicted in media or reported in the news. Decades have escaped the community since the death of Hester, and the United States is somehow still facing an epidemic of violence towards the transgender community.