Transgender Day of Remembrance
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For many years, transgender individuals have suffered from violence, abuse, and death at the hands of others for challenging societal norms and the stereotype about gender. Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoR) is recognized on November 20th this year. The purpose of this day is to honor and memorialize those who face discrimination. This day was founded in 1999 by Gwendolyn Smith. TDoR is used to acknowledge the many hate crimes that the transgender community face in their daily life. Although TDoR was inspired by the tragic murder of an individual, Rita Hester, many other transgender individuals have faced similar fates as well. This day is used to honor the memory of those who lost their lives in violent acts of discrimination as well as those who still face discrimination in their daily life.
Each year, we honor the lives of those who died that year that are a part of the transgender community. This year, we remember those that have died between October 1st, 2019, and September 30th, 2020. During this period, 47 individuals in the U.S. have lost their lives from either violence from others or self-harm. The list of names that are being honored during TDoR in 2020 is found at: https://pflag.org/blog/transgender-day-remembrance-2020
Ways to Participate in the Transgender Day of Remembrance
One great way to honor those who have died would be to participate in a candlelit vigil. This is something that is held every year. These vigils are typically organized by local transgender advocates or LGBTQ organizations, and held in common areas such as community centers, parks or places of worship. Although we are currently in a pandemic and cannot celebrate in person, there will be a virtual vigil for anyone to attend. The vigil involves a reading of the names of those lost who lost their lives over the past year. This is a great way to honor those who have died and show your support for the transgender community. You can register to participate in this vigil at: https://pflag.salsalabs.org/pctdormtg/index.html
Some communities also do marches in honor of those who lost their life. These marches are a great way to raise money and show support to the transgender community. This might be limited this year due to COVID-19, however, you can show your support in other ways.
Another way to show your support would be to educate yourself and those around you about the impacts of transgender discrimination. As we honor those who have lost their lives, we must also use this as an opportunity to support the inclusion of transgender individuals. This could be shown by advocating for the protection of the transgender community at all levels of the government, or by providing education within the workplace or in schools about the dangers of transgender discrimination. This is something that shouldn’t only be done on November 20th, but throughout the year.
We must work together as a community to honor and recognize those who have lost their lives due to hate crimes and discrimination. We must also recognize that some individuals experience hate crimes and discrimination as part of their daily life. We must come together to ensure that our communities are safe for everyone.
Use November 20th to participate in the Transgender Day of Remembrance. A great way to do this is to join a candle-lit vigil and to educate yourself about the dangers that transgender individuals face. Show your support and honor the lives of those who have lost their lives due to this discrimination and hate crimes.
Author: Samantha Potocnik
Samantha is an intern at EVOLVE and a student at the University of Wisconsin River Falls.