D.C.’s annual Transgender Day of Remembrance, which commemorates the lives of transgender people lost to violence each year, is scheduled to be held Tuesday, Nov. 20, at the Metropolitan Community Church of Washington at 474 Ridge St., N.W., from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Longtime transgender activist Earline Budd, coordinator of the D.C. Trans Day of Remembrance (TDOR), said that similar to past years this year’s event will include speakers from the trans community along with supportive allies. Among the speakers will be Lourdes Ashley Hunter, director of the national group Transgender Women of Color Collective.
Budd said the event will also include the annual ceremonial reading of the names of transgender people lost to violence worldwide during the previous and this year.
TDOR was founded by transgender activist Gwendolyn Ann Smith to memorialize the 1998 murder of Rita Hester, a trans woman of color who lived in Allston, Mass. What initially began as a web-based project by Smith has since grown into an international day of action held each year on Nov. 20 in more than 200 cities worldwide.
Budd noted that similar to last year, there have been no reported murders of transgender people in D.C. so far in 2018. The New York City Anti-Violence Project, which monitors anti-LGBT violence nationwide, says there have been 23 reported murders of transgender people in the United States so far this year. The group says there were 30 reported trans murders in the U.S. in 2017.
D.C. police statistics show that as of Sept. 30 of this year, there were 23 reported hate crimes against transgender people compared to 10 anti-trans hate crimes reported in D.C. last year.
Budd said that among those invited to speak at this year’s event is D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, who was expected to issue a mayoral proclamation officially declaring Nov. 20 Transgender Day of Remembrance in the District of Columbia. Budd said that as of Wednesday the mayor’s office had yet to confirm whether Bowser would appear at the event.
D.C. Council member David Grosso (I-At-Large) has confirmed that he will appear at the event to present a resolution passed by the Council on Tuesday officially recognizing Trans Day of Remembrance in D.C., according to his legislative aide and trans activist Darby Hickey.
Also invited to attend, according to Budd, is D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham. But Budd said that in a change from past years, the Planning Committee for the D.C. Trans Day of Remembrance decided that there would be no police speakers this year, although the chief and members of the department’s LGBT Liaison Unit would be invited and encouraged to attend.
Budd said the Planning Committee also decided that organizers will ask D.C. police to remove from the event anyone who disrupts the event similar to last year. During last year’s D.C. TDOR trans activist Ashley Love rushed to the stage, grabbed a microphone from the hands of Rev. Elder Dwayne Johnson, the MCC pastor, and yelled at Police Chief Newsham to leave the church because she didn’t believe Newsham should be part of the event.
Similar to last year, for those unable to attend, the D.C. Trans Day of Remembrance will be live streamed through livestream.com/mccdc/TDOR.