Thursday, November 20, 2008

Remembering Our Dead

November 20, 2008 marks the 10th anniversary of Rita Hester’s murder, a Boston transgender woman whose brutal murder is still unsolved as many crimes against gay, lesbian, transgender and transsexual persons often are. Rita’s murder began the first visible evidence of hate-filled discrimination and violence against the transgender and transsexual community, as it sparked an online memorial for all of those in our community who have been murdered for being who they are, internally and externally.

“Remembering Our Dead” ( is the first website dedicated to posting the names and stories of transgender and transsexual humans who have been killed for their gender identities and/or expressions. These names, however, are the ones for which we have accounts; many others are not reported or not classified as hate crimes based on gender identity.

Now, 10 years later, the tradition continues and so, too, do the murders of human beings who dare to live as they must: in a gender not assigned physically at birth, but assigned within the heart and spirit from conception.

On the 20th of each November we remember those who died—our dead.

What makes them ours? As a pre-op transsexual male, the murdered are my sisters and my brothers and, above all else, they are human beings who deserve to be honored, valued and remembered. But what makes them yours to remember, those of you of the Same Gender Loving community?

You must remember because we are cut from the same cloth, albeit of a different pattern. We desire the same human rights: that is, to love who we want, identify however we want, and express our sex or gender in whatever means comfortable and innate to our true selves. Transphobia is as alive and vicious of a monster as homophobia and oftentimes dwells in the same hearts and minds. To “them” we are all “freaks of nature,” “misfits,” unworthy and intolerable. To “them” our civil rights are not their civil rights; our lives are not worth as much as their own; our love is not love. To this, we must stand together and become responsible for one another, collectively.

They are our dead because, as the living, we still have a voice, and we must speak loudly and unwaveringly to end homophobia and transphobia in our time and for our next generation.

As you awake on November 20th, remember Rita Hester from 1998 and remember Duanna Johnson murdered on November 10, 2008 and all those past, present and future. In nations across the world people are gathering to remember those needlessly killed by hate:, is a site that has a listing of where you can get involved in your region.

On November 20th, this year and every year, stand up and be heard, because our dead cannot.

Remember. – Article on Rita Hester. – Article on Duanna Johnson. – video titled “Hate Crimes in 2008- Fight OUT Loud”

Biography: Talib “T.J.” Fleming is an FTM writer, parent, and social activist residing in Jersey City, NJ with his partner and daughter.

Photo © Emmanuela de León/Dust Jacket Press

--- written by TJ Fleming

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Obama Grabs Headlines

A forward from a friend! Enjoy!

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