The Loss That Gave Everything - Origins of the Transgender Day of Remembrance
Born and raised in New England, Rita Hester as well as sister Diana always knew that they were sisters. Rita was a transwoman and very confident and proud of that fact. Diana would say that "It never posed a problem growing up.”What she seemed to allude to was that Rita's family loved and embraced her, without judgement or ridicule.
When Rita was in her 20's, she moved from Hartford to Boston. According to the newspapers, she performed locally and abroad. She sang, danced, and thoroughly enjoyed being on stage. Rita was seen in gay and straight bars. “She frequently traveled to Greece for vacation.
Just 2 days before her 35th birthday, Rita was savagely and brutally murdered in her own apartment. The Boston police, and local papers were not very educated in how to label Rita correctly. Between the agony of losing a shining star, and the frustration of the lack of empathy for Ms. Hester, the local LGBTQ+ community held a vigil on Dec. 4th and read the names of other victims of Transgender hate crimes that ended in death.
TLC is asking the Honolulu community to send us pictures and the stories of the local transgender losses so that we can honor them this year as well. If you or anyone that you know has lost a trans friend or family member to bigotry and hate, either directly through violence, or indirectly through depression or other issues compounded by discrimination and stigma.
The only way that hate wins, is if we stay silent. We will be posting these pictures and stories in the office. Then on the 28th, they will be posted to social media every hour on the hour. There will be no ignoring a VERY real problem in every corner of the planet.
As a brother to a transman, every time I get a phone call late at night I have a panic attack knowing that my brother may be in danger, just for being himself. I hope to never have to send a picture and story about him, but the sad truth is, if we don't remember Rita and the far too many others from every corner of this planet, history will repeat itself.