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Somber Events Pay Tribute to Lives Lost

Somber Events Pay Tribute to Lives Lost


People across the country and around the world have been gathering to remember transgender people whose lives were lost this year due to abuse and violence.

In the United States at least nine transgender people have been reported murdered so far this year, and assaults have been rampant in the nation's capital, with 20 reported incidents against transgender women. Dozens of transgender people and allies marched in Washington, D.C., Thursday to raise awareness about the violence.

"Every morning before I walk out of the house, I pray for safety," resident Xion Lopez told the The Washington Post.

This year Detroit remembers the life of Shelley Hilliard, a 19-year-old transgender woman who went missing several weeks ago. Her body was found last week by police. She was violently attacked and burned.

"She was loved by a lot of people, a lot of friends, a lot of family," Shelley's mother, Lyniece Nelson, told The Detroit News. "She just brought joy to everyone that she came in contact with. She was always there for her family."

According to the Transgender Murder Project, there have been 755 reported murders of transgender people in 51 countries since January 2008. Still, the numbers probably only reflect a fraction of the actual number of transgender people who are murdered worldwide.

The week of events and gatherings culminates Sunday, the 13th annual Transgender Day of Remembrance, with events happening all around the world, including Hong Kong, Israel, and many cities in the U.S.

Gwendolyn Ann Smith started the Transgender Day of Remembrance after the unsolved murder of Rita Hester, a transgender woman who died November 28, 1998. A vigil in her honor took place a year later in San Francisco.

A memorial for Hilliard, who was also known as Treasure, is scheduled to be held Friday from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.,at Central United Methodist Church, on the corner of Woodward and Adams in Detroit.

For more information on the Transgender Day of Remembrance and to find events, visit

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