Today marks the tenth anniversary of the brutal murder of transgender teenager Gwen Araujo in Newark, California.
Only 17 years old at the time of her death, today Gwen would be a 27-year-old young woman had her life not been brutally taken by four men who discovered she was born male.
The story of Gwen's life has been celebrated and kept alive by her mother, Sylvia Guerrero. Sylvia supported Gwen when she transitioned as a teenager, and in an act of love and respect, had her child's name legally changed to Gwen after the murder.
In 2006, Lifetime aired a TV Movie about Gwen's life and the tragic manner in which it ended. A Girl Like Me: The Gwen Araujo Story stars J.D. Pardo (currently starring in Revolution on NBC) and Mercedes Ruehl. The film received the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding TV Movie, and can be seen via Amazon Instant Video.
Gwen's murder brought much-needed attention to the horrific nature and frequency of violent hate crimes against transgender people. In 2006, then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law the "Gwen Araujo Justice for Victims Act," which states that the use of societal bias, including so-called "panic strategies," to influence the proceedings of a criminal trial is not permitted.
Unfortunately transgender people, especially transgender women of color, continue to be targeted for vicious and brutal attacks.
Every year, communities around the United States hold the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance in November. This event remembers and draws attention to the dozens of transgender people murdered every year simply for being themselves.
According to local reports Sylvia Guerrero will speak at the 10 Year Anniversary Remembrance of Gwen Araujo event being held in San Francisco on Saturday, October 6. The commemoration will be held at 2 p.m. at the Visitacion Valley San Francisco Public Library, 201 Leland Ave.