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City Council recognizes Transgender Day of Remembrance

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City Council

International Transgender Day of Remembrance has been observed annually on November 20 since 1999, initiated as a vigil to commemorate and honor Rita Hester, a Black transgender woman killed in Allston in 1998.

The City is currently conducting a Call to Artists for proposals as part of the Transformative Public Art Program for a mural in Allston to celebrate the life and legacy of Rita Hester with a dedicated budget of $25,000-$75,000 and preference for artists with a connection to the transgender, non-binary, and gender expansive community in Boston.

The transgender community has shown great resilience in the face of adversity in all aspects of their lives, including housing, education, employment, and health care. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on transgender individuals who already face barriers to health care, such as lack of health insurance, stigma and discrimination, and higher rates of unemployment.

Transgender students are significantly more likely to experience bullying or harassment at school due to their gender identity. Transgender people who are housed in institutional settings, including jails, prisons, and immigration detention centers, are subject to high levels of violence and discrimination. The year 2021 is the deadliest year on record in the United States with at least 45 transgender or gender non-conforming people fatally shot or killed, including Jahaira DeAlto of Boston and Western Massachusetts, Marquiisha Lawrence, Royal Poetical Starz, Kiér Laprí Kartier, Shai Vanderpump, Whispering Wind Bear Spirit, and Dominique Lucious. The true scale of violence is unknown as incidences are often unreported or misreported. The majority of transgender people killed are Black and Latinx transgender women, including undocumented transgender immigrants.

The week, the Council recognized November 20th as Transgender Day of Remembrance to memorialize the lives lost to antitransgender violence. The City of Boston recognizes that the alarming trends of increased violence against transgender individuals, particularly transgender women of color, are unacceptable, and that finding solutions to these issues must be a pressing priority

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