Today is the 10th annual Transgender Day of Remembrance.
Since Prop 8 passed on the California ballot, two transgender women in the U.S. were murdered. Teish Cannon in Syracuse, New York was shot and killed and Duanna Johnson in Memphis, Tennessee was also shot and killed.
In the past year, since the last Day of Remembrance, 29 people have been murdered throughout the world for straying outside of the accepted gender norm.
The youngest of these was Lawrence King, 15 years old, who was shot in his classroom by a classmate because he wore traditionally women's clothing. But only 10 days later, Simmie Williams, Jr., 17 years old was shot and found wearing women's clothing as well.
Six months later, in July, we all heard about Angie Zapata, 18, who was beaten to death in her apartment in Colorado, but we didn't hear about Nakhia Williams in Louisville, Kentucky who was shot to death one month later.
Murderers often use the excuse that "they were tricked", they were "afraid" or they completely dehumanize the person as in the case of Angie Zapata. Giving, for one moment, the argument that being tricked or being afraid is real, the case for murder holds no water. A human being does not kill another for feeling "tricked."
In many of these cases, however, the dehumanization of a transgender or gender non-conforming person is the real "reason" they are murdered. Angie Zapata's killer said that he "killed it".
Destroying the other seems to be our "go-to" reaction lately. Whether it is raping and murdering women in the military, murdering people who don't conform to a gender norm or attempting to make Barack Obama into a terrorist Muslim, unpatriotic, scary black man that we "really don't know much about."
How about for one day, remembering that Duanna Johnson had a mother who loved her. That Angie was popular and fun, that Lawrence King had a life ahead of him to learn and grow and become whatever his heart desired. That all of these murdered people had friends and family (whether bio or chosen) that loved them and wept when they died.
See article by Queen Emily on How to Mourn.