As Alabama Republican Roy Moore uses his opponent Doug Jones’s position that transgender people have rights as a pretext to avoid publicly debating the Democrat who may take Jeff Sessions’s former Senate seat, it is worth noting that the Transgender Day of Remembrance is coming up on November 20. Started in 1999 in remembrance of a still-unsolved murder, the nationwide event pays respect to those murdered for being transgender. 23 transgender Americans have been killed this year; all but two are people of color. 27 transgender Americans were murdered last year, and 21 in 2015. The Human Rights Commission estimates transgender women face 4.3 times the risk of being murder than non-trans women.
TransAction South Dakota is hosting two events in Sioux Falls for Transgender Remembrance Week. On Saturday, November 18, they will screen The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson, a movie about a New York City trans-activist who was found dead in the Hudson River in 1992. The film starts at 6 p.m. at First Congregational Church, 300 South Minnesota Avenue. Then on Monday, November 20, TransAction SD hosts a candlelight vigil at First Congregational from 7:30 to 9:00 p.m.*
Remember that transgender youth in South Dakota, along with gender-role nonconformists, face more bullying and exclusion than other young people. In a 2011 report from the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, 35% of K-12 students identifying as transgender said they experienced physical assault and 12% said they had experienced sexual violence.
*Update 22:05 CST: Marty Epstein of TransAction SD lets me know the original announced time for Monday’s vigil was incorrect. I have updated to show the correct time and regret the earlier error.