This article was published on November 7th, 2017
The full struggle for equal civil rights won’t end until transgender people are fully acknowledged and given the same rights and dignity as everyone else. Unfortunately, the lives of transgender people have never been so heavily scrutinized as they are right now, and they are still a minority group of people seeking acceptance under the law and from society. November 20, 2017 will be the 18th annual Transgender Day of Remembrance to remind everyone of those that have come before us and the work still needed to protect the rights of the transgender community.
Transgender Day of Remembrance started in San Francisco in 1999 after the hate-crime induced murder of transgender community member Rita Hester in November of 1998. Remembering our Dead was a web-based project and candlelit vigil to honor Rita and other anti-transgender murders that remain as unsolved cold cases. The transgender community has known nothing but a history of violence, and Transgender Day of Remembrance has become a day in which those who have succumbed to violence are remembered and celebrated.
Transgender Day of Remembrance not only acknowledges the ones that have been lost, but it also serves to bring about public awareness of hate crimes against transgender people. While the Transgender Day of Remembrance publicly mourns and honors the lives of those who might otherwise be forgotten, it is also a day for allies to show their public support for their fellow human beings.
Now is the time to physically and vocally show our support for the underdog of our acronym. In 2016 there were a reported 27 murders of transgendered people in the United States. 2017 has already seen 25 trans brothers and sisters murdered in the United States. More than one transgendered person is killed per month in the United States, alone. These are unacceptable statistics, and it is up to all of us to call out the bigotry, stop the hatred, stand side by side our transgendered brethren, and to demand equality rights for everyone.
This Transgender Day of Remembrance you can get show your support and get involved by changing your social media photo to the pink and blue striped transgender flag or making a donation. There are many great organizations and causes including the National Center for Transgender Equality, the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund, the Trans Lifeline, the Trevor Project, the Trans Student Education Resource Center, GLSEN, or old favorites like the ACLU and the Human Rights Campaign.
Learn more about the Transgender Day of Remembrance.