Honoring Transgender Life and Death

Throughout the month of November, transgender and gender nonconforming lives are honored and validated all over the world for the purpose of raising awareness about the unique issues that impact these communities and to celebrate the strength, resilience and positive impact this community has made worldwide.

 

What is Transgender Day of Remembrance?

On November 20, 1999, Gwendolyn Ann Smith found herself devastated over the recent murder of her young Black trans-sister Rita Hester.  She was tired of feeling helplessness and hopeless each time she heard about a transwoman being killed and doubly tired of the silence that echoed throughout society after each murder. In that moment of despair Gwendolyn chose hope and decided to use the online platform she had created through her Remember Our Dead project to launch the first Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) to honor the lives fallen victim to the hands of transphobia and societal invisibility. Every year since, people all over world have continued Gwendolyn’s tradition of honoring all the transgender and gender nonconforming lives that have been murdered that year. November 20th, 2019 marks the 20th anniversary of TDOR (also known as International Transgender Day of Remembrance) and so far in the United States, 23 transwomen have been murdered, with 20 being Black transwomen.

What can you do?

"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." -Gwendolyn Ann Smith (glaad.org)

Learn about the issues, struggles, transphobia and violence that takes the lives of so many yearly.  

Here is a list of organizations and resources:

 

Participate in Transgender Day of Remembrance actions/vigils that take place at LGBTQ+ community centers, parks, places of worship and a variety of other venues. On November 20th, the LGBTQ Center of Long Beach will be joining over 100 cities worldwide in honoring the lives lost at a memorial at Harvey Milk Promenade Park at 6:30 p.m. (252 East 3rd Street Long Beach). For more information contact The Center at 562.434.4455 or visit www.centerlb.org.

 

Author
Alejandra Luna LCSW, Mental Health Therapist/LGBTQ+ Specialist

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