Transgender Day of Rememberance 2020
Transgender Day of Remembrance is observed annually on November 20th to commemorate members of the trans community who have lost their lives to anti-transgender violence. Gwendolyn Ann Smith, a trans rights activist and a transgender woman herself, began Transgender Day of Remembrance to honor Rita Hester, a trans woman murdered in 1998 in Allston, Massachusetts. Rita Hester was a highly visible activist in the trans community, and her killer has not been caught. Since then, Transgender Day of Remembrance has become a nationwide opportunity for communities to come together and honor the lives of transgender people lost to violence.
As we approach the 22nd anniversary of the Transgender Day of Remembrance, the Human Rights Campaign states that in 2020 alone, 36 transgender or gender non-conforming individuals had their lives taken too early by violence. As the United States surpasses 250,000 COVID-19 deaths, the effects on the TGNB (Transgender/Non-Binary) community have been devastating. Between risking exposure to the virus, delayed health and gender-affirming treatments, limited or removed access to mental health support systems whether within the community or with professionals, all balanced while fighting for their rights. Columbia Psychiatry shows that during this pandemic TGNB people were unemployed at triple the rate of the general population, while TGNB people of color were unemployed at up to four times the rate of their cisgender, heterosexual peers. So this year, while acknowledging those lost to violence, we want to recognize those we’ve lost to COVID and the TGNB members of the global community who are still suffering significantly.