Today marks the ninth annual Transgender Day of Remembrance which honours and remembers people who have lost their lives speaking out for what they believe in.
Minister for Women and Equalities Helen Grant said:
Transgender Day of Remembrance serves as an opportunity to remember those who were brave enough to be themselves and had the courage to express who they are, but tragically lost their lives for doing so.
Everyone should be treated fairly and with respect, regardless of who they are. The government believes that everyone should be able to live free of fear and of violence, and we are committed to ending the prejudice which can blight people’s lives and lead to hatred and violence.
In December 2012 the government amended the Criminal Justice Act to include transgender identity as an aggravating factor, this means courts now have the power to increase the sentence length for crimes motivated by hostility towards the victim. The starting point for murders aggravated by transgender identity was also increased from 15 years to 30 years.
Transgender Day of Remembrance acts to bring attention to the continued violence against the trans community and to raise awareness of the importance of inclusion.
It was started to honour the memory of Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was killed in 1998. The vigil commemorated all the transgender people lost to violence that year and began an important memorial.
This year’s vigil, organised by London TransDiversity is being held at the University of London Union on Malet Street, Bloomsbury , from 7.00pm.
The Minister added:
We have come a long way, and I am proud of what this government has achieved. But there are still other barriers which transgender people can face that need to be broken down. So before the end of the year we will be launching a LGB&T Call for Evidence, inviting people to help us understand the issues that still remain and consider where Government needs to prioritise further action to improve equality for transgender people.