While the actual Transgender Day of Remembrance was on Friday, I’m posting today because I’ll be attending an annual vigil to commemorate the more than 160 trans people killed so far in 2009. Anti-LGBT violence is so often targeted at those who are gender-variant or perceived to insufficiently conform to expected gender norms. And gender variance is often invisible. Case in point: Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado, a Puerto Rican teen whose murder was reported as the death of a “gay teen”, but who was killed while performing sex work in female garb. I don’t know how he identified, but it is clear that at least part of the reason for his murder was because of his gender presentation.
This year, Congress enacted the Matthew Shepard Act, which provides financial support and Federal intervention for local law enforcement to investigate hate crimes. I don’t know what impact it will have to mitigate the incidence of hate crimes, but I have high hopes. So. I’ll be lighting a candle and hoping – and working – for a day when having an unusual, unexpected, variant, confusing, or confounding gender presentation, identity, or body no longer brings out murderous wrath.