Transgender Day of Remembrance

Posted on by Joy Mosenfelder

Guest Blog by Aaron Piracini, Transgender Health Coordinator, Victory Programs’ Mobile Prevention Team

November 20th is the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance. A day when we remember and honor the people whose lives were tragically cut short at the hands of anti-transgender violence and hatred. In this year alone, we have lost 22 people that we know of due to anti-transgender hatred.

Some may be wondering why we need a Transgender Day of Remembrance here at all. Massachusetts just became the first state in the union to uphold transgender protections at the ballot box, and by an overwhelming majority.  It was a great show of support for the trans community, but we still have a long way to go in the journey toward true acceptance, free of fear of prejudice and violence. Just five days after 2017 came to a close, a woman named Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien became the first transgender homicide victim of 2018. Christa Leigh was a beloved member of the trans community in Massachusetts. She founded the Miss Trans America and Miss Trans New England beauty pageants, and was the cofounder of the New England Trans United Pride March and Rally. She was a proud activist who believed that being a member of the transgender community was something to celebrate. On January 5th, 2018 she was found dead in her North Adams home. This was the first homicide North Adams had seen since 2013.

Many human rights movements faced major challenges and hurdles, and the fight for trans rights is clearly no exception. We have lost many good people in the fight for justice and as we look toward the Transgender Day of Remembrance we do so with sorrow for those lost, but also with hope and a belief that one day we will no longer have to fight or push for legislation to protect our civil rights. The pain we experience can make us lose all hope, but the progress we see give us the strength to persevere. On November 20th, we honor and remember Rita Hester, Chanelle Pickett, Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien and so many more. We honor those recently departed, and those whose souls have not walked this earth for a very long time.

This year we remember:

Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien

Viccky  Gutierrez

Zakaria Fry

Celine Walker

Tonya Harvey

Phylicia Mitchell

Amia Tyrae Berryman

Sasha Wall

Carla Patricia Flores-Pavon

Nino Fortson

Gigi Pierce


Diamond Stephens

Catalina Christina James

Keisha Wells

Sasha Garden

Dejanay Stanton

Vontashia Bell

 Shantee TuckerLondon Moore

Nikki Enriquez

and Ciara Minaj Carter Frazier.

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