This year’s Transgender Day of Remembrance is particularly disturbing. According to Tori Cooper at Human RIghts Campaign, this year has included the largest number of trans and gender nonconforming people’s deaths by violence since statistics were first collected in 2013. Forty-six people that we know of lost their lives so far this year, and the real number is almost certainly much higher.
An equally shocking and shameful statistic to contemplate is that more anti-trans, gender suppressive bills were passed in 2021 than in any previous year. Those laws don’t just limit what trans and NB people can do in their day-to-day lives, they also encourage and support violence against the trans community.
The only things we can do as individuals of any gender are first, to continue to support trans and NB people at risk — who, of course, are predominantly Black, Brown, and poor; and second to fight these laws everywhere, and particularly in our own states. Laws that have been passed can be repealed. People who are vulnerable can be protected.
This year, I picked my one person off the list to call out, because I thought her name was beautiful, and I can imagine her being excited to choose it and have it represent her–Zoella (Zoey) Rose Martinez.
Her family says:
Zoey loved hanging out with friends and spending time with her dogs. Zoey mastered makeup that accentuated her loving and caring personality. Zoey was the caretaker of her mother after her mother survived COVID but was in recovery. Zoey loved helping out around the family farm. Zoey had a beautiful spirit, she always had a smile and had only kind words to say about others. Zoey was a born leader and her peers acknowledged her as such. Her character was that she would debate endlessly for what she thought was right. She was very witty.
So I can think of her caring for her family, holding her opinions strongly, working on the family farm. She was shot and killed in Maple Valley, Washington on August 31. Her family must be reeling from the double impact of their sick mother and their lost sister.
Some year maybe we will be able to say that the numbers have gone down … ideally to zero. Until then, we remember and mourn and organize.
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