Kerry Marks Transgender Day of Remembrance

Penny Starr | November 22, 2013 | 4:18pm EST
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Secretary of State John Kerry testified at a Senate hearing on Nov. 21, 2013. ( Starr)

( – Secretary of State John Kerry marked “Transgender Day of Remembrance” Wednesday, noting that these individuals are “harassed, arrested or even killed simply because of who they are and who they love.”

The U.S. was joining the international event by “honoring the memory of lives lost to violence provoked by fear and hatred of transgender and gender non-conforming people,” he said.

Kerry said despite “tremendous progress in advancing the rights of LGBT people” these individuals still face violence, including in the United States.

“The sad truth is that in too many places, including the United States, transgender persons continue to face violence and discrimination on a daily basis,” Kerry said. “In too many cases, crimes against LGBT persons, including murder, are not thoroughly investigated or prosecuted.”

According to the Transgender Day of Remembrance website, between 1970 and 2012, 717 transgender individuals were murdered around the world – or an average of 17 per year.

In contrast, in 2012 alone, 144 infants (under 1 year of age) were victims of homicide in the United States, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

“Each of these episodes threatens our common humanity,” Kerry said of the murders of transgender individuals.

He said the U.S. is using diplomacy to “continue to urge other governments to protect all of their citizens regardless of their gender identity.”

According to the Transgender Day of Remembrance website the event “raises public awareness of hate crimes against transgender people, an action that current media doesn’t perform.

“Day of Remembrance publicly mourns and honors the lives of our brothers and sisters who might otherwise be forgotten,” the website said. “Through the vigil, we express love and respect for our people in the face of national indifference and hatred.

“Day of Remembrance reminds non-transgender people that we are their sons, daughters, parents, friends and lovers,” the site stated. “Day of Remembrance gives our allies a chance to step forward with us and stand in vigil, memorializing those of us who’ve died by anti-transgender violence.”

“On Transgender Day of Remembrance, we renew our commitment to ensuring that all persons are able to live safely, freely and with dignity, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity,” Kerry said in his remarks.

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