The Transgender Day of Remembrance was set aside to memorialise 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.
I wrote about last year's service here but our intention at Streetspace Bournemouth was never to be the sole providers of the Vigil. We don't want to hold a place of power or privilege in our community but we do want people to know they are not alone and we want to honour those who have lost their lives at the hands of hatred and prejudice.
The day serves several purposes. It raises public awareness of hate crimes against transgender people, an action that current media doesn’t perform. Day of Remembrance publicly mourns and honours the lives of our brothers and sisters who might otherwise be forgotten. It also serves to remind non-transgender people that prejudice still exists and gives allies a chance to step forward and stand in vigil, memorialising those of us who’ve died by anti-transgender violence.
It is with solidarity in mind we joined forces with our young friends at Space Youth Project's T Group to plan the #TDOR2015 event. Ben and Kevin went along to meet the young people in their space and to liaise with the groups fabulous youth workers Dan and Jay ahead of the vigil. Hearing directly from the young people how they wanted the shape of the evening to be. Many not yet confident to share upfront roles on the night some of the young people crafted moving poetry to be printed, uploaded and shared at the Vigil:
We also collectively took a moment to remember all those for whom living authentically had taken its toll and who had sought to end their suffering through suicide.
Group members from Space Youth Project read aloud their poetry causing a moment of reflection for us all.
Our friends Dwayne and Jacqui from Intercom Trust joined us for the evening too, an opportunity to remind us of the national hate crime campaign and the help and support offered to the trans community. We love what they do to stand with people!
I know this post is a bit vague, you probably have lots of questions about why we do what we do but if you have been here before them you will know by now that I'm not one for sharing the stories of others. They are not my stories to share. But a fabulous young man called Luke came along to the event and recorded some thing quiet special for a radio documentary. You can hear what he and others have to say for themselves in this short piece Luke Hastings.
And as always if you still want to ask some questions you can fire away,
perhaps we can have a coffee?
I might even bake you a cake!