November 20th is the day marked to commemorate the Transgender Day of Remembrance.
Thirteen years ago on November 28th Rita Hester, like Matthew Shepard five weeks before, was brutally murdered, more than 20 stab wounds to her chest, in her home. She was only 34 years old. Her name may be unfamiliar to you, unlike Shepard, whose murder was well reported in the media and would become a focal point of hate crimes legislation formally known as the Matthew Shepard Act. Ms. Hester was African American and lived in the Allston/Brighton neighborhood of Boston. Ten years prior to her murder Rita began to live her daily life fully as the woman she knew she was meant to be. Standing over six feet and weighing approximately 225 pounds, Rita was known as someone who could take care of herself. By all accounts she was spirited, out going, much loved, and accepted. Except by the person or persons who took exception to her and savagely ended her life.
Rita Hester isn’t the first transgender person to have been murdered, nor has she been the last. No one should have their life ended because they choose to live their life as they know themselves to be. No one should be forgotten because a majority of society and news media implicitly consider a person less news-worthy, less a human because they belong to multiple minorities. Nor do I think gays and lesbians can leave them behind in the struggle for civil rights because the straight, cisgender majority, and far too many cisgender gays, lesbians and bisexuals misunderstand, fear, or hate them.
Acceptance and respect should be universal.