By Chase Strangio
It has been a particularly violent year for the transgender community.
At least 21 transgender people have been murdered in the United States so far this year. Eighteen of them are transgender women of color. These murders have been perpetrated against the backdrop of a particularly vitriolic political climate in which the idea of trans equality has prompted organized campaigns to denounce the dignity and humanity of transgender people.
Today, on the Transgender Day of Remembrance, we mourn the losses in our community. We remember those who have died not only at the hateful hands of others but also by suicide, untreated illness, incarceration.
But we don’t just mourn today. We also honor the fight and the beauty of our community.
At the ACLU, we thank our fierce transgender clients who are taking on the powerful and fighting for a more just world for transgender people and everyone else.
Thank you to:
- Chelsea Manning, who is fighting the military for her health care while incarcerated at the United States Disciplinary Barracks where she is serving a 35-year sentence for convictions related to her release of documents to WikiLeaks.
- Meagan Taylor, who is bringing a civil rights action against the Drury Inn in West Des Moines, Iowa, after hotel staff called the police complaining that “two men dressed as women” had checked-in and they suspected prostitution when she and another Black trans friend came to the hotel.
- Gavin Grimm, who is suing his school district for refusing to let him use the boys’ bathroom like other boys only because he is transgender.
- Shane Ortega, who has been leading the fight for open military service for transgender people.
- Student A in District 211, Illinois, who filed a civil rights complaint against her school district for forcing her into a separate locker room and denying her access to the girls’ locker room solely because she is transgender.
- Patricia Dawson, who sued her employer for firing her because she is transgender.
- Monica Jones, who challenged the criminalization and police profiling of transgender women of color.
- Emani Love, Code Stone, Tina Seitz, and our other clients, who are challenging Michigan’s refusal to issue corrected licenses to transgender people without a court order.
And to so many other ACLU clients who took on great personal risk to change the world.
You inspire us, and to honor those we have lost, we will keep fighting by your side.
Chase Strangio is staff attorney with the LGBT & HIV Project at the ACLU.