Remembering Trans Lives


Image via Ted Eytan.

By Brooklyn Dennison, Editor-in-Chief

Nov. 20 marks Transgender Day of Remembrance, an event started in 1999 to honor people whose lives have been lost to anti-trans violence.

According to GLAAD, a non-governmental LGBTQ organization, the day was started by Gwendolyn Ann Smith as a vigil to Rita Hester. The vigil commemorated all the trans people that were killed since Hester’s death.

Since then, the tradition is carried on by cities who host their own vigils, such as Cleveland, and in the hearts and minds of LGBTQ folks and allies.

To commemorate trans lives, The Buchtelite would like to pay respect to the Ohioans that have lost their lives to anti-trans violence. Below is a list of some trans individuals who have died within the past few years. This is by no means a complete list, as LGBTQ hate crimes often go unreported. If you know a person who lost their life due to anti-trans violence and would like them to be added to this list, please contact [email protected].

Betty Skinner, 52, Cleveland

Bri Golec, 22, Akron

Brittany-Nicole Kidd-Stergis, 22, Cleveland

Cernia Dove, 20, Cleveland

Jojo Striker, 23, Toledo

Keisha Wells, 54, Cleveland

Kendall Hampton, 26, Cincinnati

Phylicia Mitchell, 45, Cleveland

Tiffany Edwards, 28, Walnut Hills

Trans people are at an increased risk of violence. According to a survey done by the National Center for Transgender Equality, nearly half of the respondents were verbally harassed because of their identity and nine percent said they were physically attacked within the past year.

Because of the aggressions trans people face, it is up to entities that hold power, such as media organizations, to raise awareness and work against hate violence. News outlets have been known to deadname and misgender trans people, which is an event that should not continue to persist. It only perpetuates harmful stereotypes against trans people.

The Buchtelite kindly asks you to remember the trans community, not just on Nov. 20, but each day of the year. If you have a friend or family member that is trans, maybe do something special for them like buy them a pizza or give them a consensual hug.