Transgender Day of Remembrance
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.
Members of the trans community, especially transgender women of color, are at a much higher risk of violence than their cisgender* counterparts. Last month, The New York Times reported on an “epidemic” of murders of transgender people. Transgender people interviewed for the article reported that the threat of violence was always on their minds. At least 22 transgender people have been reported murdered so far in 2019. Many more may have been unreported or misreported. The Human Rights Commission has their names and stories. We honor their legacies and work toward a world in which trans people can live without fear of violence based on their identities.
*Cisgender refers to someone who identifies as the sex they were assigned at birth, i.e. someone who is not transgender.