Trans Day of Remembrance
Observed annually on 20 November, Trans Day of Remembrance is an important opportunity to draw attention to the continuing violence endured by Trans people around the world.
When was Trans Day of Remembrance first observed?
Gwendolyn Smith began the tradition of Trans Day of Remembrance to mark the murder of Rita Hester – a trans woman who was murdered in Massachusetts in 1998.
One of the motivators that led Smith and the Trans community in Massachusetts to develop the Day of Remembrance concept was a wish to see the life of Rita Hester respectfully reported in local media outlets.
What began as a web-based memorial project, has evolved into an international day of action observed around the world.
What happens on Trans Day of Remembrance?
There’s lots of ways in which Trans Day of Remembrance can be observed, or in which action can be taken to mark the day.
Memorial events usually include a reading of the names of Trans people who have lost their lives in the past 12 months, but anything that respects the memory of those who have lost their lives to Transphobia is a good starting point.
Why is there so much violence against Trans people?
Transphobia is intolerance of gender diversity. It starts from the assumption that gender is binary, and that people who don’t fit the gender stereotypes of male or female are somehow inferior to those who do.
Statistics from around the world demonstrate that Trans women are at a greater risk of violence than pretty much everyone else – Trans women of colour are particularly at risk.
There’s lots of reasons why Trans women are potentially at risk of violence. For example, trans women who are sex workers seem to be particularly vulnerable to being attacked.
One thing that everyone can do is to ensure that we’re not in any way complicit with enabling intolerance of gender diversity or transphobia.
On this Trans Day of Remembrance, let’s not only memorialise the dead, we need to also ensure that we’re making the world safer for those who are living.