Transgender Day of Remembrance 2020 – A Note

BIMA has had the privilege of being the site for Bainbridge Pride and Kitsap Pride Network’s annual event observing Transgender Day of Remembrance. As we cannot gather in person this year to remember the transgender lives lost this year, we asked Eve Palay, trans community member and representative for Bainbridge Pride, Rainbow Crew NW, and Jefferson County Transgender Support Group, for any thoughts or reflections she might wish to share with our community, along with a list of resources which can be found at the bottom of this page. We are grateful to Eve for her time and effort taken to allow all of us to share in this moment of remembrance.

In observing Transgender Day of Remembrance for years past, we usually hand-write cards with the names of transgender people murdered in the last year and then hand them out at our ceremony. We like to hand one card per person so that the reader gets to connect to the name and the cause of death on the card. Sometimes a reader may hold on to the card and the name for a long time, perhaps pinning it to a bulletin board by their desk.

When my friend, the Rev. Erin Grayson, was helping me cut and paste over three hundred cards, she sat back for a moment and asked, “Doesn’t it get to you, all these deaths?” I had to stop for a moment, and then I told her, no, I actually didn’t concentrate on the deaths. To me, I am overwhelmed by having the gift of these names in the first place. Twenty years or so ago, there was no list at all. Just think of the people who have brought these names from around the world to us.

We of the trans community want to share this gift. I learned when attending my first Transgender Day of Remembrance ceremony that we are sharing the gift of welcoming the spirits of these people who had so little welcome in their lives. And honestly, trans or not, we all know people like that.

The list is long and brutal—351 people this year alone. Sex workers and people of color are prominent, and most of the recorded deaths come from Central and South America. Please keep in mind that there is so much of the world that does not record trans deaths at all. After all, around the globe, trans sex workers are the least of us.

We have had a lot of support from the faith community over the years, and as we cannot have our usual gathering, we asked if churches and temples would like to share this gift in their services this month. We were pleased with the response we received. We did not want to take up their entire service, so the idea was to give them ten names to read. It turned out to be impossible to select just ten names from the list, so we gave them a choice of three lists, each with ten different names.

Our selected lists included Black and Latinx people, sex workers, and activists. Additionally, we included more victims from the Western world to underscore that this is not just a problem elsewhere. Still, these short lists are just a shadow of the whole list, just as the whole list is a shadow of what really goes on around the world. But it is not the number or the completeness that matters. Our hope is that you will find just one name that will connect with you, one spirit that can welcome as part of your own.

That is what we share. That is our measure of success.

– Eve Palay
Bainbridge Pride, Rainbow Crew NW, and Jeffferson County Transgender Support Group

BIMA has been provided a short list of names to honor and remember during Transgender Day of Remembrance this year. We invite you to take a moment of your day to sit with this list and remember these lives, and many others, that have been taken from us too soon.

Name: Hamsa, #12
Age: Not reported
Date of Death: Oct 13, 2019
Location: Hyderabad (India)
Cause of death: Burned
Remarks: They stumbled, their head was trampled, they were killed with kicks, sticks & stones.

Name: Brianna “BB” Hill, #17
Age: 30
Date of Death: October 16, 2019
Location: Kansas City (USA)
Remarks: Hill, 30, shot by a man who is currently in custody, was pronounced dead
when officers arrived on the scene. Kansas City Police Capt. Tim Hernandez told local press that the alleged shooter remained at the scene until they arrived.

Name: Chicho Chirinos, #21
Age: 49
Occupation: Sex worker
Date of Death: October 26, 2019
Location: La Plata (Argentina)
Cause of death: Stabbed
Remarks: The killer attacked from behind, kicked her and stabbed her again. The victim fell to the ground, but the killer continued to stab her with the knife several more times.

Name: Daphine Kauane, #32
Age: 15
Date of death: November 11, 2019
Location: Recife (Brazil)
Cause of death: Stoned

Name: Victoria Pineda, #37
Age: 28
Occupation: Activist/movement leader
Date of Death: November 16, 2019
Location: Departamento de Ahuachapán (El Salvador)
Cause of death: Beaten
Remarks: Victoria’s body was found naked, with her hands open as a symbol of crucifixion, holding some logs and a car tire on her head as a “crown of thorns” and her face disfigured due to stone blows

Name: Nikki Kuhnhausen, #56
Age: 17
Date of death: December 18, 2019
Location: Vancouver (USA)
Cause of death: Strangled/hanged
Remarks: Nikki Kuhnhausen, then 17, was reported missing on June 6. On Dec. 7, a hiker found her skull in the woods near Larch Mountain,

Name: Julie Berman, #63
Age: 51
Date of death: December 22, 2019
Location: Toronto (Canada)
Cause of death: Beaten
Remarks: Police said two people were inside the home when they arrived on scene and a female victim was found suffering from serious injuries.

Name: Mia Perry, #66
Age: 26
Occupation: Sex worker
Date of death: December 29, 2019
Location: Washington DC (USA)
Cause of death: shot
Remarks: A DC transgender woman was shot to death by, apparently, armed members of a private security company in a vacant apartment building, but there is still a lot of speculation about the case

Name: Dustin Parker, #68
Age: 25
Date of death: January 1, 2020
Location of death: Oklahoma City (USA)
Cause of death: Shot
Remarks: Dustin Parker, a 25-year-old transgender man, was fatally shot in
McAlester, Oklahoma, early on New Year’s Day. He was killed while working as a taxi cab driver.

Name: Nare Mphela, #69
Age: 27
Occupation: Activist/movement leader
Date of death: January 1, 2020
Location: Limpopo (South Africa)
Cause of death: Stabbed
Remarks: Nare Mphela, who won a landmark transgender discrimination case against her Limpopo high school in 2017, was stabbed to death in her home.

Name: Tamara, #83
Age: 24
Occupation: Sex worker
Date of death: January 13, 2020
Location: Saint-Petersburg (Russia)
Cause of death: Decapitated/dismembered
Remarks: The body of the deceased was found in the Mga River by an eleventh grader. Experts noted that the victim’s legs were carefully severed with a saw, and the soft tissues were cut off with a knife. The body was in the water for about six months.

Name: Ajita Bhujel, #92
Age: 29
Occupation: Sex worker
Date of death: January 18, 2020
Location: Kathmandu (Nepal)
Cause of death: Strangled/hanged
Remarks: Ajita’s body was found on the side of the road. She was raped, struck on the head with a blunt object and strangled. Her gold necklace and mobile phone were stolen. The motive of her death is unclear, however hate crime is not being ruled out

Name: Mari de Bastos Lima, #100
Age: 37
Date of death: January 27, 2020
Location: Santo Antônio do Leverger (Brazil)
Cause of death: Tortured
Remarks: The victim was buried alive

Name: Jessyca Sarmiento, #127
Age: 38
Occupation: Sex worker
Date of death: February 21, 2020
Location: Paris (France)
Cause of death: Run-over by car
Remarks: Jessyca was deliberately run over in a hit and run attack

Name: Monika Diamond, #152
Age: 34
Occupation: Owner of beauty shop/hair salon/bar/shop
Date of death: March 18, 2020
Location of death: Charlotte (USA)
Cause of death: Shot
Remarks: Monika was shot dead in an ambulance. Charlotte police and paramedics responded to a call about a disturbance in Days Inn where Monika was experiencing shortness of breath. When she was in the ambulance, the murderer, who was denied his entry, came back and shot her several times

Name: Musa, #169
Age: 15
Date of death: April 4, 2020
Location: Faisalabad (Pakistan)
Cause of death: Beaten
Remarks: She was ‘lured’ away by ‘local thugs’, physically and sexually abused and then murdered. Her body was left outside her mentor’s home.

Name: Johanna Metzger, #176
Age: 25
Occupation: Artist
Date of death: April 11, 2020
Location: Baltimore (USA)
Cause of death: Stabbed
Remarks: Johanna Metzger’s life was tragically lost in Baltimore, MD on April 14, 2020, after a stabbing on April 11. She was a self-taught musician of multiple instruments. A virtual vigil was held on Zoom

Name: Penelope Diaz Ramirez, #180
Age: 31
Date of death: May 13, 2020
Location: Bayamon (Puerto Rico)
Cause of death: Aphyxiation/smoke inhalation/suffocated
Remarks: Penelope was found hanging in a cell within the Bayamón correctional complex. Another inmate confessed that he used a piece of cloth to strangle her and then destroyed the evidence

Name: Helle Jae O’Regan, #200
Age: 20
Occupation: Hair dresser/stylist/beautician
Date of death: May 6, 2020
Location: San Antonio, Texas (USA)
Cause of death: stabbed
Remarks: Transgender hair stylist Helle Jae O’Regan was killed in an attack on a barbershop preparing to reopen in San Antonio, Texas. The killer choked her until she passed out and then stabbed her to death. Two other employees managed to escape

Name: Tony McDade, #215
Age: 38
Date of death: May 27, 2020
Location: Tallahassee (USA)
Cause of death: Shot
Remarks: The 38-year-old African-American transgender man, Tony McDade, was fatally shot in the Leon Arms apartment complex by an officer of the Tallahassee Police Department.

Name: Selena Reyes-Hernandez, #220
Age: 37
Date of death: May 31, 2020
Location: Chicago (USA)
Cause of death: Shot
Remarks: She was shot to death inside her home in Chicago because she told her assailant she was trans.

Name: Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells, #227
Age: 27
Date of death: June 6, 2020
Location: Philadelphia (USA)
Cause of death: Decapitated/dismembered
Remarks: Fell’s mutilated body was recovered from the Schuylkill river on June 9. Her body was stuffed into a suitcase with both legs severed, with stab wounds and evidence of trauma to the face and head.

Name: Essi Granlund, #229
Age: 26
Occupation: Sex worker
Date of death: June 12, 2020
Location: Vantaa (Finland)
Cause of death: Stabbed
Remarks: Essi was stabbed with a kitchen knife. The police failed to report her killing for over a month. When they finally did, they described the attack as “an argument between two men”.

#Name: Brayla Stone, #240
Age: 17
Occupation: Artist
Date of death: June 25, 2020
Location of death: Little Rock (USA)
Cause of death: Shot
Remarks: The body of Brayla Stone was found in a car on a walking path in the Little Rock suburb of Sherwood

Name: Summer Taylor, #255
Age: 24
Occupation: Employee/clerk/civil servant
Date of death: July 4, 2020
Location: Seattle, Washington (USA)
Cause of death: Run-over by car
Remarks: Summer Taylor, protester killed in Seattle, honored for ‘standing up for black lives’

Name: Manuela de Cassia, #268
Age: 48
Occupation: Sex worker
Date of death: July 20, 2020
Location of death: Milan (Italy)
Cause of death: Stabbed
Remarks: The victim was stabbed 80 times

Name: Exón Vélez, #227
Age: not reported
Date of death: July 26, 2020
Location: Provincia de los Ríos (Ecuador)
Cause of death: Stabbed
Remarks: Exón, a non-binary person, was murdered along with their partner with machete blows

Name: Aja Raquell Rhone-Spears, #278
Age: 32
Date of death: July 29, 2020
Location: Portland (USA)
Cause of death: Stabbed
Remarks: Aja Raquell Rhone-Spears, 32, was stabbed at a vigil for another homicide victim, Tyrell Penney, in Portland. A second person, whose identity has not been released, was also stabbed.

Name: Britani Jacqueline, #313
Age: not reported
Date of death: August 26, 2020
Location: Jalisco (Mexico)
Cause of death: not reported
Remarks: Britani was detained by four municipal police officers and was later found dead. It is believed that it was an extrajudicial execution

Name: A. V., #341
Age: 24
Occupation: Sex worker
Date of death: September 20, 2020
Location: Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic)
Cause of death: Run-over by car
Remarks: A young trans woman was run over and killed after having a fight with a client. Prior to the event, the assailant had communicated to another trans sex worker his intention to murder a trans girl