November 20: The Transgender Day of Remembrance

LGBT activists and advocates: Today is the Transgender Day of Remembrance, a day observed annually around the world to honor transgender people who have been murdered because of discrimination and bigotry. Here you’ll find a list of events around the world where groups will be getting together to commemorate with candlelight vigils and other programs.

Several studies have found that transgender people face much greater rates of discrimination and violence than even their lesbian, gay, and bisexual peers. For example, according to one report from 2007:

The study also found that, because of entrenched social stigma, transgender people encounter pervasive violence and physical brutality from family members, community members and police. Widespread discrimination and violence often prevent transgender people from accessing shelters, foster care, Medicaid, public entitlements and social safety nets, which would enable them to survive without turning to illegal activities. As a result, transgender people are disproportionately poor, homeless, criminalized and imprisoned.

Some advocates say the Transgender Day of Remembrance is a way to fight back against these tragic statistics. A bit of basic history, courtesy of GLAAD:

From November 12-19 hundreds of individuals and organizations around the country participated in Transgender Awareness Week to help raise the visibility of transgender and gender non-conforming people, and address the issues these communities face… TDOR was started by transgender advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith as a vigil to honor the memory of Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was killed in 1998.

Whether you’re transgender or not, or know a transgender person or not, I encourage you to take a minute today to think about this occasion. The Transgender Day of Remembrance is a meaningful, reflective day for millions of people, and the more people who know why we observe it, the closer we come to true equality.

About Camille Beredjick

Camille is a twentysomething working in the LGBT nonprofit industry. She runs an LGBT news blog at gaywrites.org.


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