Some of the memorial cards for trans murder and suicide victims at the Bournemouth TDoR 2018 vigil

A short speech from a Transgender Day of Remembrance vigil

This is a short speech I gave at the Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoR) vigil held in Bournemouth, UK on Tuesday 20th November 2018.

I thought I would reproduce here in case anyone else finds it useful in future.

This is a traumatic time of year for trans people, so thank you all for coming — I know how hard this is. If you are not trans yourself, thank you for coming along to support us.
Every year the Trans Murder Monitoring Project produces a report which lists all of the trans people they know of who have lost their lives to violence in the past year.
Every year the numbers go up. Last year they reported 325 names, but this year it is 368.
But still far too many reports go unnoticed. To support last year’s vigil we started doing our own research.
The end results were memorial cards for each victim like those you see here today — and the realisation that we were finding reports of victims who were missing from the official list.
I have to tell you that as of today, we know of 419 victims.
The data on the official list nominally only includes murder victims — however we lose people for lots of reasons — murder, suicide, medical neglect, organisational indifference, homelessness and so on.
Some of the cases we know of reflect that. Some were deaths in custody, or cases where medical treatment had been withheld by the authorities. Some were a result of unsafe medical procedures which they felt they had to undergo to function in society.
And every life lost is a tragedy.
The memorial cards in front of you give you a little information on each of them. In many cases we know very little, but in some cases we know enough to paint a picture of who they were.
On each card there is a QR code. If you scan that it will take you to a page which tells you what we know about them.
On those pages you can find things they’d written, quotes from friends and family members, poetry and even in one case a video of of one of them having a great time dancing behind her DJ decks at a Mexican TV station.
They were poets, musicians, dancers, doctors, clerks and so much more. Many were sex workers of necessity, but that shouldn’t be how we define them.
Please be aware that each page may link to news sites containing disturbing imagery. We recommend not following source links unless you feel strong enough to do so.
But we hope that this year you will take a moment to learn a little about the people we have lost.
Most of them were so young, and we mourn all of them.
This year there were several victims in the UK. One — Naomi Hersi — was stabbed in Hounslow in March, and her killer is now serving a life sentence.
The others we know of were suicide victims — two of whom were students at the same university, one a volunteer with Trans Pride Brighton, and one a child.
We know there were many more suicide victims we don’t know about.
Today is heartbreaking, but I think it’s important.
The Trans Day of Remembrance has a motto: “Remember Our Dead. Fight Like Hell for the Living”.
So I hope that today’s events will strengthen us, and leave us more and more resolved to carry on that fight.
Thank you.

Footnote: The memorial cards we used (all 419 of them, each individually printed and laminated) were produced using the website at https://tdor.translivesmatter.info.

I wrote about the website and the data behind it not that long ago in the blogpost TDoR: Learning more about those we have lost.