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Episode 53 | Rita Hester & The Murder That Started A Movement, Allston, Massachusetts

EP 53 | Rita Hester & The Murder That Started A Movement, Allston, Massachusetts

This is a true crime, local history, and storytelling podcast. I write about crimes, I set the scene, connect story themes, I talk about things that happened here, in Massachusetts and New England.

This episode is about violent crime, society, the LGBTQ+ community, Trangender women, unsolved murder, and the impact on the community. Listen with care. And always about where the events of the story take place.

Chanelle Pickett and Rita Hester were murdered three years apart. Chantelle in 1995 in Watertown, Mass, and Rita Hester in 1998 in Allston. Both were brutal crimes. Neither of them got justice. The attitudes and the language around gay and transgender lifestyles were very different back then. How the media covered violence against transgender people was cruel, if they covered them all. As a result of the mistreatment they got event in death, their murders were instrumental in the creation of the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance on Novemer 20th. Rita Hester's murder is still unsolved.

Mallery Jenna Robinson, transgender and HIV advocate and host of A Hateful Homicide podcast, joins me to talk about the violence transgender women face - then and now. We talk about the fight for justice for transgender victims, the urgent need for laws to protect the transgender community from hate crimes and the critical role empathy and compassion play in our society.

2021 was the deadliest year to date. In the US, a record of 57, there are likely many more deaths that go unreported or inaccurately reported due to deadnaming and misgendering.

2022: At least 32 transgender and gender-nonconforming people have been killed in the United States

2023: 14 Trans and Nonbinary People were Lost to Violence in 2023

There is no relief in lower numbers, certainly we do not want them to go up. It needs to be zero,

Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoR) is Monday, November 20

Photos: Chanelle Pickette and sister Gabrielle, Gabrielle and Chanelle on the Jenny Jones show. Rita Hester, Rita with some of her many friends,

Rita Hester memorial mural in Allston, Massachusetts
Rita Hester memorial mural in Allston, Massachusetts

Gabrielle and Chanelle on Jenny Jones, 1992



Hots Dogs for Life at The Silhouette

Human Rights Campaign


The Panic Defense

Chanelle Pickett

Chanelle Pickett on Jenny Jones

Rita and Chanelle

Bay Window reporting on Rita Hester

Bay windows misgendered Rita

Boston Phoenix reporting on Rita Hester, by Sarah McNaught

Deadliest Year on Record for Trans and Non Binary people

Public Files Request, Rita Hester

NBC News report by Kate Sison, 2020 - Rita background story

A Murder That Started A movement - Rita Hester - Rita's memorial mural

19th News

PBS 2021 Deadly Year

Fenway Health

The Boston Globe

My South End


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