This Sunday, Nov. 20, LGBTQ people and allies across the nation will join in solidarity to observe Transgender Day of Remembrance (#TDOR), an annual day of recognition that memorializes those who’ve lost their lives due to anti-transgender hate or discrimination.
Trans advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith created Transgender Day of Remembrance as a vigil to honor Rita Hester, a transgender woman whose murder on Nov. 28, 1998, remains unsolved, as do most heinous crimes against transgender individuals. What began as a San Francisco candlelight ceremony soon grew into an important national movement commemorating all transgender people lost to violence that year and every year since.
“The Transgender Day of Remembrance seeks to highlight the losses we face due to anti-transgender bigotry and violence,” Gwendolyn said on her website. “I am no stranger to the need to fight for our rights, and the right to simply exist is first and foremost. With so many seeking to erase transgender people—sometimes in the most brutal ways possible —it is vitally important that those we lose are remembered, and that we continue to fight for justice.”
TDOR serves as not only a day of memorializing and reflecting on the beautiful lives (and tragic deaths) of many of our transgender sisters and brothers, but as a critical reminder that the epidemic of violence against transgender and gender non-conforming people continues to worsen in our country. The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Projects’ 2014 Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and HIV-affected Hate Violence Report shows 80 percent of murder victims were people of color, 55 percent were transgender women and 50 percent were transgender women of color. According to a summary of that report by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), “Transgender women survivors of hate violence were also more likely to experience police violence, physical violence, discrimination, harassment, sexual violence, threats, and intimidation compared to those who were not transgender women.”
Further findings from the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) and the National LGBTQ Task Force study “Injustice at Every Turn” stated that among more than 6,000 transgender people who responded, a majority of them reported facing strikingly high rates of violence, harassment and discrimination in various aspects of their daily lives. These areas include education, employment, family relationships, public accommodations, interactions with police, and within the criminal justice system. The full breadth of violence and discrimination targeting transgender people is impossible to grasp, as murders of transgender individuals often go either unreported, underreported or misreported, so accurate numbers remain unobtainable.
Today, HRC and the Trans People of Color Coalition (TPOCC) released “A Matter of Life and Death: Fatal Violence Against Transgender People in America 2016,” a new, heartbreaking report documenting the often deadly violence faced by the transgender community and exploring the factors that fuel these tragic attacks. The report comes amidst reports of a surge in hate-based violence and harassment following last week’s election. It recounts the stories of at least 21 transgender people who have been murdered since the beginning of 2016; 96 percent were people of color, and 85 percent were transgender women.
The more visibility the transgender community can achieve, the more allies it gains, and the more the entire LGBTQ community steps up to take action and express indignation against anti-transgender violence, the more difficult it will become for law enforcement and the mainstream media to ignore or trivialize these unthinkable and intolerable crimes. On Nov. 20, help to show you stand with our transgender communities by observing Transgender Day of Remembrance, either through attending one of the many events listed in the links below or engaging in TDOR conversations or commemorations on social media (please check below our events list for links to a variety of resources for the transgender community).
NATIONAL EVENTS – check Facebook and other events lists for memorials in your area
If you’re a transgender individual who’s been targeted violently or need resources on a variety of issues/situations (or know someone who does), visit or share these links.
International Transgender Day of Remembrance
National Center for Transgender Equality
Sylvia Rivera Law Project
Trans Women of Color Collective
Transgender Europe’s Trans Murder Monitoring Project
Transgender Law Center
TransJustice at the Audre Lorde Project
The Trevor Project‘s 24/7 Lifeline at 866-4-U-TREVOR (866-488-7386) or Trevor Chat, the Trevor Project’s online messaging service
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255)
Trans Lifeline at 877-565-8860
Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund (TLDEF)
Trans People of Color Coalition (TPOCC)
Black Trans Advocacy
Trans Latina Coalition
Trans Youth Equality Federation
Trans Youth Family Allies (TYFA)
TransTech Social Enterprises
Transgender American Veterans Association