While all violence is abhorrent, the violence is usually not based on what you are, but who you are. GLBT are targeted for what we are. Some of our "family" are more vulnerable to being a victim of violence. Primarily young gays and transgender people seem to be targeted much more than the rest of our population.
According to a 2008 report from the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP), anti-transgender bias is reported crimes is holding steady, in fact, it has increased 12 percent over the previous year. 1
Gender Public Advocacy Campaign found that a majority of the victims were killed with violence "beyond that necessary to terminate life." In some cases, assailants continued to bludgeon, stab or shoot the victims even after death. 2
Enter into this picture Ethan St. Pierre, who in 1999 organized the first candlelight vigil in San Francisco, beginning Transgender Day of Remembrance. On the website Ethan has this to say,
The Transgender Day of Remembrance serves several purposes. It raises public awareness of hate crimes against transgender people, an action that current media doesn’t perform. Day of Remembrance publicly mourns and honors the lives of our brothers and sisters who might otherwise be forgotten. Through the vigil, we express love and respect for our people in the face of national indifference and hatred. Day of Remembrance reminds non-transgender people that we are their sons, daughters, parents, friends and lovers. Day of Remembrance gives our allies a chance to step forward with us and stand in vigil, memorializing those of us who’ve died by anti-transgender violence.During the next few days and into the coming weeks candlelight vigils are being held through out the world. I'm not sure if every community that is holding vigils are listed. If you are interested in attending a vigil I would suggest checking with your local GLBT community center.
The more that I read, the more I'm totally convinced that many Americans are unaware of the hatred, bigotry and bullying that our family lives with on a daily basis. Our plight has been worsened by the religious right spewing hate from the pulpit, that has stymied our attempts to gain civil rights with the might of the ballot box. Sadly this summer this climate of hate has caused several of our most vulnerable family members to give up on tomorrow. Criminally the schools blamed the victims, instead of the atmosphere that allowed unchecked bullying.
We all know what the pink campaign has done to raise awareness for breast cancer. It's time for GLBT to start a rainbow campaign. It's also time for the patchwork quilt of GLBT civil rights organizations to be stitched into one single and much more powerful organization. We need corporate backing, famous people to join our cause for civil rights, for our ability to live free and fearless. I think we should pick the month of June, which has been the traditional month for marriages, high lighting one of our "lost" civil rights.
If you have a belief system, say a prayer for those who have left us, due to suicide, murder, and AIDS. If not, then pause for a moment in your day, and hold a moment of silence for our missing members.