Today, 20 November 2008, marks the 10th annual International Transgender Day of Remembrance, commemorating those who were killed because of transgender hatred or prejudice.

The day is marked to honour Rita Hester who was murdered on November 28 1998.

Hester was a well known member of the transgender community in Boston, USA, where she worked on education around transgender issues. She was stabbed 20 times in her apartment and her murder remains unsolved.

According to the International Lesbian and Gay Association, in September alone at least 25 transgender people were murdered across the world, simply because they were different.

While no organised events are taking place in South Africa, the Africa Transgender Network and Gender DynamiX issued a joint statement “to acknowledge our many African brothers and sisters who are silenced about their gender identity and living daily in danger of their lives.”

The organisations also said that they hope to increase public awareness of hate crimes against transgender people.

“This year the Trans Africa movement is remembering not only those who passed away but also those who are victim and survivors of transphobia and hate speech from our societies,” said the organisations, which represent the interests of transgender communities in Africa and South Africa.

The organisations paid tribute to Daisy Dube, a well known drag artist in Johannesburg, who was murdered on July 2 this year when she asked the perpetrator to not call her ‘istabane’ anymore (a derogatory Zulu slang word for gay).

They said that the majority of cases of murder related to transphobia are not documented in most African countries and called on governments to protect gender non-conforming people.

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