We Will Remember.

Posted on 04 December 2008 by Yuki Choe

Many members of the LGBT were preoccupied with work for the coming World Aids Day 2008. Many more were unable to make it on that weekend. But it was a day to remember for the 20 plus people who came for the inaugural Transgender Day of Remembrance 2008 in Malaysia. It was a day people will talk about; a day of mourning and hope for a better future for us who are different. Some were curious straights while some were just there to watch the movie due to be shown. But all of them left with the message in tact, one that prays for compassion and a wish to be loved for who we are.

The Transgender Day of Remembrance Malaysia 2008 was held at the Annexe Gallery within Central Market on the evening of 22nd of November, and we were fortunate to be able to get a proper room instead of the café place with many thanks to the owner. The movie “Jihad For Love” was cancelled due to fear of authorities, and 2006 Korean movie with a spot of empathy for transgenders called “Like A Virgin” was screened instead.

The names of those murdered all across the world, from our country to the States and Southern America and even to Iraq, were called out one by one, and everyone responded. We acknowledged every each name saying “We Will Remember” as one by one, every person in the room lighted one candle in memory of each death. Some even went to dedicate another name with another candle, and a shy straight student also requested for a candle for one of the deaths. That was the theme for us. “We Will Remember”, indeed.

A minute of silence and prayer ensued, and I personally dedicated the evening to my first candle lit for Gwen Araujo 6 years ago. It was then many realized how important it is for us to view transgenders as human beings capable of living a life just as anyone else. That we are people deserving of life. Some of those who died were shockingly young, and had their entire lives deprived from them. And as we remember our dead, it is good also to remind ourselves that many of such killings worldwide were not reported, especially in Muslim countries like Malaysia. And a lot of them were tortured before their death.

Everyone especially transgenders across the world already shared what was need to be said on this day. And when the candles continue to burn throughout the movie, one thought that came to my mind was the spirit I realized we need to let the flame of life burn brightly in our hearts. Building respect and understanding on the value of human life should be at the forefront of advocacy against transphobia. There is a dire need for education on diversity and equality, especially dealing with people who are different than us. Only with that can we stop these merciless murders, and create a true environment of love.

I thank the members of the “collective with no name” for working with me on this event.

Some thoughts from a member of the audience:

They are human beings too. They should be treated like one!

Chris from Memphis dropped us a letter:

Please know that you are not alone in having to deal with bigoted
authorities. I’m writing from Memphis, TN, USA, and police brutality
and hate crimes (no doubt largely driven by religion) is a serious
problem here with regard to trans women of color. I wish you the best
in trying to stay safe and keep others safe. It seems that we have a
lot in common when it comes to religious bigots who insist on trying
to make life as miserable as possible for an already vulnerable
population. You see, most people around here are nice and there are
people who equally value all human life here. But even the ones who
are ‘nice’ often unfairly think that anyone would willingly choose
this life. We in Memphis will remember your struggles, as they are
part of a larger push for the right to live full lives without the
fears of economic deprivation from not being able to find employment
and the possibility of being killed by someone who is offended by our

Sean-Michael of Gender Divercity also wrote to us. A hat-tip for Chris and Sean-Michael’s messages, and many thanks for Sean-Michael for providing us the full list of names of transgenders who are to be remembered:

Dearest friends in Malaysia,

My name is Sean-Michael and I’m a man who was born “female” and has since transitioned to my proper gender.

As we gather in Arizona, USA on the steps of the state capitol, my thoughts will be with you. Each year we read the names of those we know of who have died, and each year, there are candles lit for those we do not know about. This year I plan to make an altar specifically for those whose deaths are hidden, and unknown. I will bring yukichoe’s letter with me, and will post it prominantly on the altar so others are aware. I will also ask the woman who runs our local TDoR to please allow me to read your letter so that we can take a moment of silence to remember our fallen siblings in Malaysia and elsewhere that we have not been made aware of. May your TDoR be filled with hope for a day when we will be allowed to live freely and safely as ourselves all over the world.



Here is a list of those who are known. There are also 2 Iraqi women who are currently not shown on this list who died just like Ali, executed for being trans.

Kellie Telesford
Location: Thornton Heath, UK
Cause of Death: Strangled
Date of Death: November 21, 2007
Kellie was strangled to death with a scarf, by 18 year old Shanniel Hyatt, who then covered the body of 39-year-old Kellie Telesford with a white blanket – with the brown furry scarf used to choke her still bound tightly round her neck. Hyatt said he killer her after discovering she had a penis.

Brian McGlothin (Liked to dress in Women’s clothes)
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
Cause of Death: Shot in the head with an automatic rifle by Antonio Williams who is serving a six year sentence. Brian was 25 years old.
Date of Death: December 23, 2007

Gabriela Alejandra Albornoz
Location: Santiago, Chile
Cause of Death: Attacked and stabbed
Date of Death: December 28, 2007

Patrick Murphy (Found Dressed in Women’s clothes)
Location: Albuquerque, NM
Cause of Death: Shot several times in the head
Date of Death: January 8, 2008
Patrick was 39 years old.

Stacy Brown
Location: Baltimore, MD
Cause of Death: Shot in the head
Date of Death: January 8, 2008
Stacy was 30 years old.

Adolphus Simmons
Location: Charleston, SC
Cause of Death: Shot to Death (Aldophus was 18 yrs. old)
Date of Death: January 21, 2008

Fedra (a known transvestite)
Location: Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
Cause of Death: Was found lying face up in a pool of blood; cause of death was not reported.
Date of Death: January 22, 2008

Ashley Sweeney
Location: Detroit, Michigan
Cause of Death: Shot in the head
Date of Death: February 4, 2008
The age of Ashley Sweeney is unknown, she was only described as a young transgender woman in a press release.

Sanesha (Talib) Stewart
Location: Bronx, NY
Cause of Death: Stabbed to Death
Date of Death: February 10, 2008
Sanesha was 25 years old.

Lawrence King
Location: Oxnard, California
Cause of Death: Shot to death by a classmate because he was openly gay and liked to wear women’s clothes. (Lawrence King was 15 years old.)
Date of Death: February 12, 2008

Simmie Williams Jr.
Location: Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Cause of Death: Shot to death, Simmie was found wearing women’s clothing. (Simmie was 17 years old.)
Date of Death: February 22, 2008

Luna (no last name reported)
Location: Lisbon, Portugal
Cause of Death: Brutally beaten to death and tossed into a dumpster.
Date of Death: March 15, 2008

Lloyd Nixon
Location: West Palm Beach, Florida
Cause of Death:Repeatedly beat in the head with a brick.
Date of Death: April 16, 2008
Lloyd was 45 years old.

Felicia Melton-Smyth
Location: Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Cause of Death: brutally stabbed to death by Francisco Javier Hollos, who said he killed her because she would not pay for sex. Felicia was an HIV activist on vacation from Wisconsin.
Date of Death: May 26, 2008

Silvana Berisha
Location: Hamburg, Germany
Cause of Death: Stabbed to Death
Date of Death: June 24, 2008

Ebony (Rodney) Whitaker
Location: Memphis, Tennessee
Cause of Death:Shot (Ebony was 20 yrs. old)
Date of Death:July 1, 2008

Rosa Pazos
Location: Sevilla, Spain
Cause of Death: Was found in her apartment, she had been stabbed in the throat.
Date of Death: July 11, 2008

Juan Carlos Aucalle Coronel
Location: Lombardi, Italy
Cause of Death severely beaten causing fractures to the head and face before being run over by a car.
Date of Death July 14, 2008
Juan Carlos was 35 years old.

Angie Zapata
Location: Greeley, Colorado
Cause of Death: She was found in her home with two severe fractures in her skull. Angie was murdered by 31 year old Alan Ray Andrade. Angie was 18 years old.
Date of Death: July 17, 2008

Jaylynn L. Namauu
Location: Makiki Honolulu, Hawaii
Cause of Death: Stabbed to Death
Date of Death: July 17, 2008
Jaylynn was 35 years old.

Samantha Rangel Brandau
Location: Milan, Italy
Cause of Death: beaten, gang raped and stabbed numerous times before being left for dead.
Date of Death: July 29, 2008
Samantha was 30 years old.

Ruby Molina
Location: Sacramento, California
Cause of Death: Drowned
Date of Death: September 21, 2008
Ruby’s naked body was found floating in the American river.
She was 22 years old.

Aimee Wilcoxson
Location: Aurora, Colorado
Cause of Death: undetermined (Police have yet to reveal cause)
Date of Death: November 3, 2008
Aimee was found dead in her bed. She was 34 years old.

Duanna Johnson
Location: Memphis, Tennessee
Cause of Death: Shot
Date of Death: November 9, 2008
Duanna was found dead in the middle of the street. She was 42 years old.

Dilek Ince
Location: Ankara, Turkey
Cause of Death:Shot in the back of the head
Date of Death: November 11, 2008

Teish (Moses) Cannon
Location: Syracuse, New York
Cause of Death: Shot
Date of Death: November 14, 2008
Teish was 22 years old.

Cause of Death:executed for being transgender
Date of Death:2008, Month is Unknown
Video of Ali before she was executed: http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=Z2tDVtjQNfQ

A big Tilted World thanks for everybody who came, and for everyone who sent their prayers and wishes for us in Malaysia, as we sent our collective love to all our brothers and sisters in the world.

3 Comments For This Post

  1. nakedwriter Says:

    Thank you for making this possible in Malaysia!


  2. theo Says:

    Thanks for having this site and for remembering the T in LGBT. It’s been years since I’ve been in Malaysia and when I did live there I didn’t know any out LGBT people. Glad to see it is improving.

  3. pagarmerah Says:

    alamak, so terasa.
    i was supposed to do this but then i was too busy with World AIDS Day. :)
    well written and i was very glad that Yuki was there to share. i dont think i could have done that. and Yuki was so very inspiring. believe me. i was moved to tears. (and i am like such a batu!)
    yes, i know transgender people and have worked with them but listening to how they died due to hate crime was just a whole different thing. it really shows how sad and cruel people are and can be. just because you dont conform to the gender norms and identity.
    and the one thing that made such an impact on me and everyone i suppose was what Yuki said, “i exist”. yes, she does exist, she was there before me reading out names and giving us explicit details on their deaths with such strong emotions.

    and if we dont remember them, then no one will. we all exist and we everyone us count.

    *and i promise, no more 3 days organizing and next year will be a better one!

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