10 years ago this month, Rita Hester was found in cardiac arrest in Boston, Mass. after being stabbed 20 times.
In the little press coverage that followed her murder, Hester was most commonly referred to as “he,” with quotation marks surrounding the name Rita.
Hester was a transgender woman, and in addition to the fact that her killer was never found, the GLBT community found the media’s disregard for Hester’s true identity to be insulting, irresponsible and indicative of the misunderstanding surrounding what it means to be transgender.
It is the unadulterated hate involved in Hester’s murder and the blatant covering of the eyes following it that CSU will aim to address today, on Transgender Remembrance Day, as it not only recognizes those who have succumbed to hate crimes but also educates students about the transgender society.
Violence against what we don’t understand is abundant throughout our history, and ignorance should never be viewed as an acceptable excuse for the existence of that violence. It’s our responsibility to seek to understand, to seek to accept and to seek to defeat the prejudices that still exist.
Hester gives a face to the crimes committed against the GLBT community daily, and those crimes don’t just include those that are acts of violence. Judgment, discrimination and hatred run rampant and will require our attention every day until the hopeful one in which they do not exist.
Today we hope to remember in hopes that tomorrow we will not repeat.