Today, Equality Florida honored the 10th Annual Transgender Day of Remembrance. Each year, the Transgender Day of Remembrance is held on November 20th and represents an opportunity to remember those who have lost their lives to anti-transgender violence and hatred.
"This year is one of the worst on record for the number of hate crimes in the transgender community," said Nadine Smith, executive director for Equality Florida. "Today, we honor the memories of our transgender sisters and brothers lost to hatred and prejudice."
According to the organizers of the International Transgender Day of Remembrance, there have been 14 known transgender people murdered during 2008 in the U.S. alone. This included the highly publicized murder of Lawrence King, a 15 year-old California student who was gunned down in school by his 14 year-old classmate.
As murders of transgender people are often under reported, or the identities of transgender murder victims are misreported, there is no way to know the actual number of transgender murder victims.
According to the Florida Attorney General's Hate Crimes Report, physical assaults against LGBT people in Florida have increased in 7 out of the last 8 reported years. Also during 2006, the most recently reported year, Florida saw a 71% increase in physical assault hate crimes against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.
The Transgender Day of Remembrance is held in November to honor Rita Hester, whose murder in 1998 led to the "Remembering Our Dead" web project and a San Francisco candlelight vigil in 1999. Since then, the event has grown to encompass memorials across the nation.