Transgender day of remembrance

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Sara Matthews

Hill Air Force Base – Every year, on November 20, communities and organizations around the country gather to show support on Transgender Day of Remembrance. A day started by Gwendolyn Ann Smith in 1999 to honor the memory of Rita Hester, a trans woman killed in 1998, whose murderers still have not been found. This vigil went on to become an annual tradition to remember trans people whose lives were lost to violence. 

The number of trans people lost to violence in the last few years has continued to grow substantially in the United States. These numbers have nearly doubled since 2017, a year which had a total of 29 reported deaths. The number almost doubled in 2020, with 44 people losing their lives. At the time, it was the highest record of lives lost, until 2021 when the number rose to at least 57. 

This year, 32 deaths have been reported, so far. Note, these are only the deaths reported. Unfortunately, there are likely more, but with victims deadnamed, the act of referring to a transgender or non-binary person by a name they used prior to transitioning, such as their birth name, mis-gendered using a word, especially a pronoun or form of address, that does not correctly reflect the gender with which they identify, or not reported, it is difficult to know the exact amount. 

The alarming rise in these numbers have caused transgender people to be two and a half to four times more likely than cisgender people, those who’s gender identity aligns with the sex they were designated at birth, to be the victims of assault and other violent crimes. Even further, trans women of color are notably more vulnerable, being nearly three quarters of known victims despite only making up about 13% of the trans population. With these numbers in mind, it is paramount that we honor those lost on this day of remembrance and aim to do better so no one else may be lost to this unfortunate violence.

Please help us remember those we have lost so far this year:

•    Tiffany Banks                          •    Sasha Mason
•    Semaj Billingslea                    •    Chanelika Y’Ella Dior Hemingway
•    Acey Morrison                        •    Nedra Sequence Morris
•    Mya Allen                               •    Ray Muscat
•    Dede Ricks                            •    Fern Feather
•    Maddie Hofmann                   •    Ariyanna Mitchell
•    Aaron Lynch                          •    Miia Love Parker
•    Kandii Reed                          •    Kenyatta “Kesha” Webster
•    Hayden Davis                       •    Kathryn “Katie” Newhouse
•    Marisela Castro                    •    Tatiana Labelle
•    Cherry Bush                         •    Paloma Vazquez
•    Keshia Chanel Geter            •    Matthew Angelo Spampinato
•    Martasia Richmond               •    Naomi Skinner
•    Kitty Monroe                          •    Cypress Ramos
•    Shawmayné Giselle Marie    •    Duval Princess
•    Brazil Johnson                      •    Amariey Lej

Currently, there are approximately 15,000 trans people serving in the Armed Forces. As the Air Force continues its pursuit to ensure an inclusive environment for all Airmen and Guardians, it is vital to bring awareness to this issue. 

The Hill AFB Pride Committee is currently working on events/initiatives to bring awareness and honor the LGBTQ+ community.