Since Nov. 20 is International Transgender Day of Remembrance, we will mark TDOR in our Nov. 18 worship service.
TDOR began in the late 1990s to commemorate the life of an African-American trans woman named Rita Hester who was brutally murdered in Boston in 1998. Her death came just weeks after the murder of Matthew Shepard in Wyoming had roused a huge discussion on hate crimes against gay people, yet Rita’s murder garnered no such response. Her murder and the lack of media attention to her death drove a candlelight vigil to begin in San Francisco the next year.
While we acknowledge that violence happens for many unjust reasons, on Trans Day of Remembrance we honor the lives of those who were victims of violence because of their gender identity and gender expression. Due to the widespread ignorance and erasure of the experiences of trans people, this day is an important opportunity for us to intentionally bear witness to the hardships of the trans community.
The Nov. 18 service will also celebrate the gifts that trans and non-binary people are in the family of God, and look forward to the day when equal rights and safety come to their lives.