Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoR) is a solemn occasion observed annually on November 20th to honor the lives of transgender individuals who have lost their lives due to anti-transgender violence and discrimination. This day serves as a reminder of the struggles faced by transgender people worldwide and underscores the importance of fostering a more inclusive and accepting society.
Transgender Day of Remembrance originated in 1999 to memorialize Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was brutally murdered in Massachusetts. The day has since evolved into a global observance, shedding light on the violence and discrimination faced by transgender individuals globally. The transgender community, especially transgender women of color, remains disproportionately affected by hate crimes and prejudice.
Transgender Day of Remembrance seeks to highlight the losses we face due to anti-transgender bigotry and violence. 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.
– Transgender Day of Remembrance founder Gwendolyn Ann Smith
The primary objective of Transgender Day of Remembrance is to raise awareness about the staggering levels of violence against transgender individuals and to memorialize those who have lost their lives. The day also provides an opportunity to reflect on the broader issues facing the transgender community, such as discrimination, lack of legal protections, and inadequate healthcare access.
Challenges and Progress:
A recent report by the Human Rights Campaign reveals that, since the observance of Transgender Day of Remembrance on November 20, 2022, thirty-three transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals have lost their lives due to violence in the United States. The disheartening statistics show that twenty-six of these tragic incidents occurred in the year 2023, as outlined in the report released this Monday.
The alarming rise in anti-trans and gender-based violence has been a growing concern for LGBTQ activists. This year, the Human Rights Campaign went as far as declaring a national state of emergency for LGBTQ individuals in the United States in June. The report underscores the urgent need for increased awareness, advocacy, and measures to address and prevent violence against transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals in the country.
Kelly Robinson, president of the Human Rights Campaign, one of the nation’s largest LGBTQ+ civil rights organizations.
Kelly Robinson, president of the Human Rights Campaign, a leading civil rights organization dedicated to advocating for the rights of the LGBTQ+ community on a national scale, said in a statement: “The epidemic of violence against transgender and gender-nonconforming people is a national tragedy and a national embarrassment.” Further, Robinson added, “Each of the lives taken is the result of a society that demeans and devalues anyone who dares challenge the gender binary.”
On Monday, President Joe Biden issued a statement denouncing the disproportionate impact of violence on the transgender community and reaffirmed his dedication to advancing LGBTQ equality in the United States.
“There is no place for hate in America and no one should be discriminated against simply for being themselves,” he said. “While each one of these deaths is a tragedy — the true toll of those victimized is likely even higher, with the majority of those targeted being women of color.”
A significant number of transgender victims killed in the past year were people of color, with a majority being Black transgender women. The HRC report indicates that over 78% of these victims were under the age of 35. Additionally, the perpetrator was identified in only 66.6% of the cases.
Read more about this news here.
While Transgender Day of Remembrance is a crucial moment for reflection and remembrance, it also highlights the ongoing challenges faced by the transgender community. Discrimination, violence, and unequal treatment persist in many parts of the world. However, the day also marks progress, as awareness and acceptance grow, and more individuals and organizations join the fight for transgender rights.
Transgender Day of Remembrance stands as a poignant and necessary occasion to reflect on the lives lost to anti-transgender violence and to recommit ourselves to building a world where everyone, regardless of gender identity, can live free from fear and discrimination. It is a call to action, urging us to work towards a more inclusive and accepting future for the transgender community.