There is so much I could say, so much that others have written, I will limit myself to three things, first, this is a video put together for today by my friend Stephanie Robinson, she sang some of her songs and introduced this video on Saturday. It is quite harrowing, but then that is really rather the point.
Next I would like to share a story that one of our guests shared on Saturday. We were very pleased to both have the correct and previous Mayor of Croydon present, showing both their personal and their official support.
As we approached the end of our event the Mayor asked if she could share a story from her own past. She used to be responsible for a number hostels around London, a young female resident of one of these hostels was getting back onto her own feet, working at her profession as a pharmacist, getting on with life and being very popular with the other residents and staff. One day a group of about seven men came into the hostel forced their way into her room and took her away telling the receptionist that "Mr Patel was going on holiday back to Pakistan" all her clothes were left in her room, but she and those men were never seen again. Although the Police were called nothing has been found.
Finally I would like to share with you a couple of pieces from my script for the day.
The International Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoR), has been celebrated worldwide every year since 1998.
On that day, 20th November, we memorialize the people who have been killed that year, by murder or by suicide as a result of their perceived transgendered identity.
Those people may have been transsexual, intersex, cross dressers or others, or they may have been mistaken for someone else. But their lives were ended because they did not conform to the gender roles that other people expected of them.
The TDOR began on November 28th, 1998, to honour Rita Hester, whose murder on that day kicked off the “Remembering Our Dead” web project and a San Francisco candlelight vigil in 1999.
Rita Hester’s murder — like most anti-transgender murder cases — has yet to be solved.
And then after all of the 325 names have been read out, and all but one of the candles lit
A long list of names, over 300, all trans or gender diverse people killed in the last year. And there will be others who died unknown, in a land where there aren't active civil society organizations that record these things. I light this candle to memorialize them.
Children murdered by their parents. Partners killed by their spouses and lovers. People killed just for being trans in public, in some cases with the tacit support of the state. Others outcast by society, Sex workers, migrant, people driven to involvement in gangs.
Beaten, stabbed, run over, shot, dismembered and fed to wild animals. Tracked down by family members they’d escaped from, because of, you know, “honour”!
Please, now join me in a minutes silence as with this act of remembrance we express our solidarity and remember these victims, knowing that in many cases they were disowned by their own communities, families, and native lands.