A poster made by patients for BHCHP's TDOR event.
By Maura Donnelly, Pam Klein & Betzamel Lopez
This year, BHCHP hosted our own Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) event for the first time. TDOR is a global, annual event to memorialize those who were killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice. The event is held in November to honor Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was murdered on November 28th, 1998 in Allston, MA. In response to her murder, an outpouring of grief and anger led to a candlelight vigil and inspired the Transgender Day of Remembrance. The first TDOR took place in 1999, and it has evolved into an event marked in communities throughout the country and across the world.
BHCHP patients and staff tabled for two days in the lobby of our South End location, providing information about TDOR and about how to be an ally to transgender people.
Patients who attend our weekly transgender support group created a poster that includes photos of every person in this country who was killed due to anti-transgender violence this past year. Many folks stopped by to ask about it, and some expressed being truly moved by this issue that they had never known about before. We gave participants a chance to fill out cards to say what they personally would commit to do to be an ally, and we also offered the opportunity for people to write the name on a heart of someone they were thinking of in relation to TDOR.
BHCHP has participated in planning Boston’s Transgender Day of Remembrance event for the past six years and this year sponsored the event as well. One of our patients, Mary Stokes, was a featured speaker at the event. She gave a heartfelt, meaningful speech about her life and how BHCHP has helped her become who she is. About 10 BHCHP patients and 4 staff members attended the event, many of them for the first time, and everyone expressed how glad they were that they attended.
BHCHP’s Transgender Program started in 2008. We offer primary transgender care, behavioral health, and a weekly support group at our South End location, and we can seamlessly connect patients to Boston Medical Center (BMC) for gender aligning surgical procedures as needed. We also offer services at several of our other locations, including Pine Street Inn, Bridge over Troubled Waters, and the New England Center and Home for Veterans.
Many people at BHCHP came together to make our participation in the Transgender Day of Remembrance possible, including Security, Facilities, BHCHP leadership and of course patients and staff from the Transgender Program. We’re grateful for all their help, and looking forward to commemorating Transgender Day of Remembrance again next year.
Case Manager Maura Donnelly, Fellow Betzamel Lopez, and Program Manager Pam Klein all work as part of BHCHP’s Transgender Program.