Independent Staff Report
WEST HOLLYWOOD — The city’s Transgender Advisory Board will present a virtual Transgender Day of Remembrance ceremony at 6 p.m. Nov. 20, featuring a reading of names to memorialize people who have been murdered as a result of anti-transgender violence.
The program will be hosted by transgender leader and advocate Sabel Samone-Loreca and will include guest speaker Rev. Valerie Spencer as well as tributes by musical artist LZ Love and the Trans Chorus of Los Angeles.
Transgender Day of Remembrance is part of the city’s annual recognition of Transgender Awareness Month each November.
Transgender Day of Remembrance was started in 1999 by transgender advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith as a vigil to honor the memory of Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was killed in 1998. The vigil commemorates transgender people lost to violence since Hester’s death and has become an important annual tradition.
The Human Rights Campaign tracks annual statistics of violence against the people in the transgender community. In the latest statistics, the campaign has HRC has reported 43 transgender or gender non-conforming people have killed in the United States this year. A disproportionately high number of victims are Black and Latinx transgender women. The 2021 report follows reports of 44 deaths in 2020; 27 deaths in 2019; 26 deaths in 2018; 29 deaths in 2017; and 23 deaths in 2016.
“It is clear that fatal violence disproportionately affects transgender women of color, and that the intersections of racism, sexism, homophobia, biphobia, transphobia and unchecked access to guns conspire to deprive them of employment, housing, health care and other necessities, barriers that make them vulnerable,” the Human Rights Campaign said in a statement. “This wave of violence has been declared an epidemic by the American Medical Association. Rates of actual violence or deaths may, in fact, be higher but anti-transgender violence can be difficult to accurately measure, as victims are sometimes misgendered in reports, which can delay awareness of deadly incidents.”
The city is currently flying the transgender flag over City Hall through Nov. 30. The flag will be flown at half-mast on Nov. 20.
The Transgender Day of Remembrance ceremony will be livestreamed on the city’s WeHoTV YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/wehotv. Participants may join the event virtually by registering for the Zoom program using this link: https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_w0qal-CDSWmv1CKyc7dmNA.
For more information, visit www.weho.org/lgbtq.