Every year in November, there is a week of words that leads to a day of memory. Transgender Awareness Week was the past week this year, the 12th through the 19th. A week of speaking up, sharing who we are, that we’re people and we’re not going anywhere.
It’s also a time for bringing awareness to the many issues that we still face as transgender individuals. There are still legal battles fought for rights. Insurance that won’t cover gender dysphoria treatments and hormones, let alone surgery. There continues to be poor treatment of transgender individuals in work and school environments, not to mention home environments—which can range from bullying and dehumanizing behavior to acts of violence.
Every year, at the end of Transgender Awareness Week, there is a day of remembering those who are no longer with us. Those that we lost that year due to violence because of who they were. Those that are gone because they lived their truth. This year, that day is November 20th.
Every year, the Trans Murder Monitoring project tallies names, ages, locations and stories of those who we lost to violence. Every year, that list gets longer. And every year, we know that even with the names we do have, that isn’t all of them. Many names are lost to time due to a variety of factors, including but not limited to; reporting of individuals with their deadnames, their deaths being ruled as not being murders, and those who are never found at all.
(A ‘deadname’ is also known as a transgender person’s ‘birth name’, and if or when they change their name to one that reflects them better their previous name is considered ‘dead’, and is not to be used.)
Worldwide, there were 350 murders reported this year. A majority of those murders were of transgender women, and many were transgender women of color.
This year, according to the Human Rights Campaign, there were 37 deaths this year in the United States and Puerto Rico. Their names are listed below.
Remember them, and mourn them.
And make the world safer for those of us who are still here.
Dustin Parker, 25, in McAlester, Oklahoma. January 1
Neulisa Luciano Ruiz, in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico. February 24
Yampi Méndez Arocho, 19, in Moca, Puerto Rico. March 5
Monika Diamond, 34, in Charlotte, North Carolina. March 18
Lexi, 33, in Harlem, New York. March 28
Scott/Scottlynn Devore, 51, in Augusta, Georgia. March 30
Johanna Metzger, in Baltimore, Maryland. April 11
Penélope Díaz Ramírez, 31, in Puerto Rico. April 13
Serena Angelique Velázquez Ramos, 32, in Puerto Rico. April 21
Layla Pelaez Sánchez, 21, in Puerto Rico. April 21
Nina Pop, 28, in Sikeston, Missouri. May 3
Helle Jae O’Regan, 20, in San Antonio, Texas. May 6
Jayne Thompson, 33, in Mesa County, Colorado. May 9
Tony McDade, in Tallahassee, Florida. May 27
Selena Reyes-Hernandez, 37, in Chicago, Illinois. May 31
Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. June 9
Riah Milton, 25, in Liberty Township, Ohio. June 9
Brian “Egypt” Powers, 43, in Akron, Ohio. June 13
Brayla Stone, 17, in Little Rock, Arkansas. June 25
Merci Mack, 22, in Dallas, Texas. June 30
Shaki Peters, 32, in Amite City, Louisiana. July 1
Bree Black, 27, in Pompano Beach, Florida. July 3
Summer Taylor, in Seattle, Washington. July 4
Marilyn Cazares, in Brawley, California. July 16
Dior H Ova, in the Bronx, New York. July 26
Queasha D Hardy, 22, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. July 27
Aja Raquell Rhone-Spears, in Portland, Oregon. July 28
Kee Sam, in Lafeyette, Louisiana. August 12
Lea Rayshon Daye, 28, in Cuyahoga County Jail in Cleveland, Ohio. August 30
Aerrion Burnett, in Independence, Missouri. September 19
Mia Green, 29, in Philadephia, Pennsylvania. September 28
Michelle Michellyn Ramos Vargas, 30s, in San Germán, Puerto Rico. September 30
Felycya Harris, 33, in Augusta, Georgia. October 6
Brooklyn Deshuna, 20, in Shreveport, Louisiana. October 7
Sara Blackwood, in Indianapolis, Indiana. October 11
Angel Unique, 25, in Memphis, Tennessee. October 25
Yunieski Carey Herrera, 29, in Miami, Florida. November 17
Trans people have all kinds of stories. While it's important to know the tragedies of life as a trans person, it's also important to know the joys. Want to know more? Read these works of fiction and nonfiction by and about trans people.
Janet Mock's second autobiographical work (After Redefining Realness) explores the time beyond coming-of-age.