Tuesday, Nov. 20 is Trans Day of Remembrance, and many allies and advocates are posting about it on social media. Following Transgender Awareness week earlier this month, the annual day honors those who have lost their lives to hate-motivated violence against people who identify as transgender. And on Tuesday, Hillary Clinton's tweets about the Trans Day of Remembrance bring attention to not just the statistics, but to the individual lives that were lost this year.
The remembrance, always celebrated on the 20th of November, was started in 1999 when trans advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith honored the death of a transgender woman who'd been killed the year prior, according to GLAAD, which advocates for LGBTQ rights in the media.
"With so many seeking to erase transgender people — sometimes in the most brutal ways possible — it is vitally important that those we lose are remembered, and that we continue to fight for justice," Smith said about the day, per GLAAD.
According to a new report released by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), at least 22 trans people in the U.S. were killed so far in 2018. A staggering 86 percent of these people, HRC found, were women of color, while a majority were also millennials and living in the southern part of the U.S. And in the last five years, 128 people have been killed due to anti-trans violence. It's worth noting, as well, that these fatalities account only for the deaths that have been reported.
The remembrance day comes on the heels of an FBI report that found that anti-LGBTQ+ hate crimes had risen three percent in 2017. "While every year is a little bit different, overall, we are seeing an upward trend in hate-based violence against the transgender community as well as other marginalized communities in this country," HRC's Sarah McBride told NBC News.
But that means it's all the more important to recognize and remember the victims of hate — which Clinton did, as she tweeted out the names of the trans individuals who have been killed in 2018. Clinton also highlighted a GLADD report sharing the names and recognizing the lives of those killed in her Twitter thread.
Globally, the incidence rate of anti-trans deaths appears to be much, much higher than the U.S. total, as a memorialization by the Remembering Our Dead Project and Trans Respect vs. Transphobia which track incidents, shows. Many more trans people are victims of discrimination and hate-based mistreatment, HRC's transgender violence report added. They reference two transgender women who, fleeing anti-trans violence in their home countries, died at the hands of U.S. immigration authorities. One of the victims, Roxana Hernandez, was said to have died under Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) care by what advocates said was medical negligence in detaining her.
In a statement per CNN at the time, ICE authorities said that all "detainees receive medical, dental and mental health intake screening within 12 hours of arriving at each detention facility, a full health assessment within 14 days of entering ICE custody or arrival at a facility, and access to daily sick call and 24-hour emergency care."
Clinton wasn't the only one who was sharing the names of the victims. As hashtags like #TransDayofRemembrance, #TDOR, and #WontBeErased trended on Twitter, many organizations and individuals did the same.
The trend of saying the victims' names is now an ongoing tradition of honoring victims of hate crimes, coined in 2015 when a group of social justice advocacy group started a report and hashtag #SayHerName to highlight the black women who'd been killed or otherwise suffered in confrontations with police, such as 28-year-old Sandra Bland, who died in jail in July 2015 in what was ruled a suicide.
On a positive note, the 2018 midterm elections proved powerful in electing more LGBTQ+ individuals to office nationwide. In fact, as advocacy group the Victory Fund reports, a total of 244 such individuals won in elections at all levels of government this year.
This year has also seen the election of the first gay governor of Colorado, Jared Polis, and the election of multiple LGBTQ+ women to Congress. With that, progress may be in store for allies and advocates hoping to advance rights via government.
As Elliot Imse of the Victory Fund told Elite Daily about electing LGBTQ+ people to Congress back in August: "When LGBTQ+ people are in the halls of power, they end up humanizing our lives for our fellow lawmakers."
GLAAD encourages allies wishing to participate to attend a local organized event, usually in the form of a vigil, to honor those whose lives were lost. But for those who can't, you can always share on social media like Hillary Clinton.
Disclosure: Hillary Clinton's son-in-law Marc Mezvinsky joined Social Capital, an investor in Bustle Digital Group, in mid 2017 and joined the Board of Bustle Digital Group in early 2018.