Remembrance History

The Transgender Day of Remembrance was set aside to memorialize those who were killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice. The event is held in November to honor Rita Hester, whose murder on November 28th, 1998 kicked off the “Remembering Our Dead” web project and a San Francisco candlelight vigil in 1999. Rita Hester’s murder — like most anti-transgender murder cases — has yet to be solved.

Although not every person represented during the Day of Remembrance self-identified as transgendered — that is, as a transsexual, crossdresser, or otherwise gender-variant — each was a victim of violence based on bias against transgendered people.

We live in times more sensitive than ever to hatred based violence, especially since the events of September 11th. Yet even now, the deaths of those based on anti-transgender hatred or prejudice are largely ignored. Over the last decade, more than one person per month has died due to transgender-based hate or prejudice, regardless of any other factors in their lives. This trend shows no sign of abating.

The Transgender Day of Remembrance serves several purposes. It raises public awareness of hate crimes against transgendered people, an action that current media doesn’t perform. Day of Remembrance publicly mourns and honors the lives of our brothers and sisters who might otherwise be forgotten. Through the vigil, we express love and respect for our people in the face of national indifference and hatred. Day of Remembrance reminds non-transgendered people that we are their sons, daughters, parents, friends and lovers. Day of Remembrance gives our allies a chance to step forward with us and stand in vigil, memorializing those of us who’ve died by anti-transgender violence.

Note: The above text is from the world-wide Transgender Day of Remembrance site.

Remembrance History

Remembering Our Dead began as an annual Houston event in 1999 through the efforts of Vanessa Edwards Foster. Until 2005, the day of remembrance was held on the steps of Houston’s City Hall. The intimate yet powerful annual gatherings drew supporters, community members and political figures alike.

Through efforts of Ms. Foster and others, the Houston Transgender Day of Remembrance inspired many to become more involved within their community.

In 2005, The Transgender Unity Committee became the main organizing body for the Houston Transgender Day of Remembrance. The Houston Transgender Unity Committee is a not-for-profit organization which provides that entire Houston area transgender community a forum to meet and organize community efforts.

This year is the second time Houston will experience a multi-event Transgender Day of Remembrance. It is also the second year that Remembrance has enjoyed sponsorship.

Note: The Houston Transgender Unity Committee meets on the first Monday of each month from 6:30 until 8 PM at Bringing Memorial Methodist Church located at 1440 Harold Street in the Montrose area of Houston. All are welcome to participate and help shape community activates such as the annual Houston Transgender Day of Remembrance.