Transgender Day of Remembrance: Honor Their Memory

Content From: HIV.govPublished: November 18, 20223 min read

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Trans Day of Remembrance

HIV.gov encourages you to read and share the HHS news release on Transgender Day of Remembrance. 

HIV.gov would also like to recognize this Sunday’s Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR), as we near the conclusion of Transgender Awareness Week. This annual observance honors the memory of transgender people whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence. HIV.gov joins the transgender community in honoring their memory.

When asked about the importance of TDOR, Jasmine McKenzie, an “I am a Work of ART” creative partner and CEO & Founder of The McKenzie Project, Inc., stated, “It's extremely important that the transgender community continue to memorialize those who have been murdered to show our respect, love, and care for one another.” She further stated, “It’s imperative that we continue educating folks about this day—why it's taking place—and state the names and ages of the people who were murdered. The more people in the U.S. who learn about this day and transgender culture, the more we can decrease stigma, discrimination, violence, and other major injustices that we face as transgender folks, specifically black transgender and nonbinary folks.

Tori Cooper, Director of Community Engagement for the Transgender Justice Initiative at the Human Rights Campaign, and also a member of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA), also highlighted the importance of TDOR. “Every year, we honor the lives of the trans community lost to violence. There must be a time when our collective grief turns into community action. May their light continue to shine, and their memories live on.”

History of Transgender Day of Remembrance

TDOR was started in 1999 by transgender advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith as a vigil to honor the memory of Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was killed in 1998 in Boston. Her murder remains unsolved. The vigil commemorated all the transgender people lost to violence since Hester's death. This first act of remembrance has grown and evolved, becoming the annual TDOR.

Violence Against the Transgender and Gender Non-conforming Community

The Human Rights CampaignExit Disclaimer (HRC) started tracking the number of violent fatal incidents against transgender and gender non-conforming people in 2013. In 2021, 50 fatalities were tracked, and at least 32 transgender people were killed by violent means in 2022, per the HRC. In previous years, most of these fatalities were among Black and Hispanic and Latina transgender women.

Get Involved

As we continue our efforts toward justice and equality for transgender and gender non-conforming people, we mourn those we have lost in 2022. As we reflect, we also encourage our readers to get involved in honoring those whose lives have been lost to anti-transgender violence. Here are some suggestions:

  • Visit the GLAAD Transgender Media Program WebpageExit Disclaimer which includes tips for allies, frequently asked questions, and transgender resources, among other resources for the community.
  • Read GLAAD’s TDOR WebpageExit Disclaimer which provides the history of TDOR, as well as organizations and other resources and reports on violence and discrimination against the transgender community.
  • Check out HRC’s Transgender Resources WebpageExit Disclaimer which details resources for transgender and non-binary people, including a featured resource on understanding the transgender community.
  • Attend or organize a vigil on November 20th to honor all those transgender people whose lives were lost to anti-transgender violence and learn about the violence affecting the transgender community. These vigils often involve reading a list of the names of those lost that year. 

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