This week is the 10th annual Trans Day of Remembrance, a day set aside to memorialize those who were killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice. The event is held in November to honor Rita Hester, whose murder on November 28th, 1998 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.
I always try to attend some event marking those in our LGBTQ umbrella who are most likely to experience silencing, violence, exclusion, and death, and to mark the passing of those who often pass silently and unmarked. This year, I am particularly moved by the death of Duanna Johnson, who stood up to anti-trans police brutality in Memphis back in February. Her activism, her voice, and her spirit were extinguished on November 9th, but her story was largely lost in the outrage over the Prop 8 loss in California. Her daily activism deserved more recognition from our alphabet soup community, and I was glad to hear her story was told in vigils across the country. I went to one at Brown University on Monday evening.
Then, Ellison and I followed up by checking out a performance by Athens Boys Choir at Rites and Reason Theatre, which generously donated the space. In the face of such a sad day, it was good to cheer on a performer who tackles serious subject matter with an irreverance, sharp wit, and lyrical hilarity. I’ve been a fan of Katz’ stuff for a while, but here’s my new favorite – because as a queer Jew how could I not love it?