State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.

The State House Sound Bites Podcast is now called State of the State and is a part of PA Post, a digital-first, citizen-focused news organization to hold Pennsylvania’s government accountable to its citizens.

Harrisburg marksTransgender Day of Remembrance, calls for legislative action

Written by Katie Meyer, Capitol Bureau Chief | Nov 21, 2018 5:17 AM

Members of Central Pennsylvania's transgender community gathered in front of the state Capitol to read the names of the transgender people killed in the last year. (Katie Meyer/WITF)


(Harrisburg) -- Every year on November 20, people across the country gather for the Transgender Day of Remembrance.

It's a time to honor the trans people killed every year--often in hate crimes. 

In Pennsylvania, it's also an opportunity for the community to call state lawmakers to action.

Since last November, 25 transgender people--mostly women of color--have been killed around the country. Dozens in Harrisburg braved the cold to gather on the steps of the state Capitol and read their names.

Joanne Carroll, the president of TransCentral PA, said she hates that this ceremony is necessary.

But she added, it's important that people know how dangerous the world can be for transgender people.

"Basically, it boils down to transphobia," she said. "People just don't happen to like people who are transgender for some reason. They think we have horns and tails. They just don't know us well, I guess."

She added, these crimes can be extraordinarily brutal.

"In many cases it wasn't that they were just shot or stabbed--they were given a number of injuries, like someone really wanted to make sure they were dead," she said.

Just this summer, Pennsylvania's Human Relations Commission expanded its anti-discrimination laws to include LGBTQ people.

But the commonwealth's hate crime laws don't include sexual orientation or gender identity--something the transgender community, and the rest of the LQBTQ community, has been advocating for for years.

Published in News, State House Sound Bites

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