November 13, 2013 | by Steve Charing
Remembering trans victims
Jessica Xavier, Transgender Day of Remembrance, Washington Blade, gay news

Cities across the U.S. remember transgender crime victims each November. (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

Organized by First Unitarian Church of Baltimore and the Transgender Response Team, the 15th annual International Transgender Day of Remembrance will be observed on Nov. 20 between 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Sanctuary of the First Unitarian Church of Baltimore, 12 W. Franklin St., Baltimore. This memorial event includes an Interfaith Memorial Service; the reading of the names and a candle lighting ceremony.

The Transgender Day of Remembrance was created 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 Nov. 28, 1998 kicked off the “Remembering Our Dead” web project and a San Francisco candlelight vigil in 1999. Rita Hester’s murder — like many other anti-transgender murder cases — has yet to be solved.

Although not all those represented during the Day of Remembrance self-identified as transgender, each was a victim of violence based on bias against transgender people.

“I pray for the day that we add no more names to the list or candles to light in honor of our trans* brothers and sisters,” said Donna Plamondon, a member of the Trans* Response Team and a candle lighter for this year’s event.

“Transgender Day of Remembrance is extremely important,” said Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. “It gives transgender individuals and LGBT community advocates an opportunity to raise public awareness about this special group of people, bring attention to crimes against them and honor the memories of those whose lives ended due to issues relating to their sexual identity or expression. Transgender people deserve love and respect. Therefore, each year on Nov. 20, I take time to think about and honor the victims of violence rooted in hate.”

The Mayor is hosting a press conference and proclamation reading earlier that day at 11:30 a.m. at City Hall in the Rotunda, 100 N. Holliday Street, Baltimore.  The public is welcome to attend.

A Transgender Day of Community will take place on Saturday, Nov. 23, from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Enoch Pratt Parish Hall, 514 N. Charles St., Baltimore.

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