This article was published on November 8th, 2021
Every year on November 20th, visibility is brought to transgender people and the issues faced within community. It’s a time for togetherness, reflection, and commemorating those who died to protect the rights of all transgender people. Whether you’re transgender or an ally, HomoCulture shares more about the holiday, how it began, and how you can get involved in your own community.
What is Transgender Day of Remembrance?
Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) began in 1999 by Gwendolyn Ann Smith as a way to honor the memory of Rita Hester, a transgender woman killed in 1998. The vigil commemorates all the transgender people lost since Rita Hester’s death and started an important tradition that has since become recognized as the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance. Too many lives across the globe are claimed by anti-transgender violence and their stories are told on the official Transgender Day of Remembrance. This is also the time to shine a spotlight on the community’s efforts to improve awareness and speak out against violence. By honoring these stories and their legacies, we remove the stigma that has taken place over the years.
Getting Involved in the Transgender Day of Remembrance
There’s an opportunity to participate in Transgender Day of Remembrance by attending or organizing a commemoration on November 20 to honor transgender people whose lives were lost to violence over the course of the year and learning about the violence affecting the transgender community. Vigils are typically hosted by local advocates or LGBTQ groups, and held at community centers, recreational centers, places of worship, and other facilities. The vigil often involves reading the names of those lost during the year.
Finding LGBTQIA+ Groups in Your Area
For those not located near traditional LGBTQ+ hubs, many other cities throughout the globe celebrate this day of remembrance as well. This is a time for local gatherings and togetherness. The most common places to find events are on college campuses or at local LGBTQIA+ organizations and are typically open to the general public. Check with your local calendar events to see what’s happening during the week of November 20th.
Raising Awareness Where You Reside
Getting started raising awareness is simple and begins with speaking out against brutality and violence in trans and non-binary communities. Talk to friends and families about the issues affecting your area, and don’t forget to share articles and statistics on all social media networks. These are stories aren’t often heard by the media and by sharing your platform with these voices, you help trans people increase visibility and awareness.
Donating to Charitable Causes
For those financially able, consider donating to gender equality and trans organizations that fight for impactful change. There are several great options certainly near your area but also search for national groups in need of help too. No matter what size your contribution is, it matters.
Becoming an Ally
It’s never easy being an ally for a community you are not part of, but it is important to have voices and allies from all over to help as we are all in this together. If you have trans friends, ask them how you can make the community safer for them. Ask how to amplify their voices and be a real ally for change. Though it might feel impossible and daunting, learning how to speak up makes you a real activist.
Listening and Learning from Trans Stories
Take some time on this day to listen and learn the stories of those who lost their lives because of hatred and injustice. These stories often fail to receive the attention they deserve, and the media overlooks them time and time again. You can change this narrative and learn from these stories. Speak up about them, remember them, and let them inspire you to action.
Through remembrance, you honor their memory and keep their legacies alive. HomoCulture wants to know how will you show your support on November 20th? Let us know in the comments section below.