BY MICHAEL K. LAVERS, WASHINGTON BLADE
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Monday issued a statement that acknowledges the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance.
“On Transgender Day of Remembrance, the United States honors the memory of the many transgender individuals who have lost their lives to acts of violence,” said Tillerson.
“Transgender individuals and their advocates, along with lesbian, gay, bisexual and intersex persons, are facing increasing physical attacks and arbitrary arrests in many parts of the world,” he added. “Often these attacks are perpetrated by government officials, undermining the rule of law.”
Tillerson in his statement stressed trans people “should not be subjected to violence or discrimination, and the human rights they share with all persons should be respected.” He added the U.S. “remains committed to advancing the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all persons. These principles are inherent in our own Constitution and drive the diplomacy of the United States.”
Gwendolyn Ann Smith organized the first Transgender Day of Remembrance as a way to honor Rita Hester, a trans woman murdered inside her Boston apartment in 1998.
Violence based on gender identity remains pervasive in the U.S. and around the world. This year’s Transgender Day of Remembrance is taking place against the backdrop of widespread criticism over the Trump administration’s trans-specific policies, which includes banning trans people from the military.