Sunday is Transgender Day of Remembrance, honoring those killed in anti-transgender violence

ORLANDO, Fla. — Sunday is Transgender Day of Remembrance, a day that honors the memory of those murdered because of anti-transgender prejudice.

The day is observed annually on Nov. 20.

Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) was started in 1999 by transgender advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith as a vigil to honor the memory of Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was killed in 1998.


Hester was a highly visible member of the transgender community in Boston, Massachusetts where she worked educating people on transgender issues.

On Nov. 28, 1998, Rita was stabbed 20 times in her apartment.

Almost two decades later, police still have not found Rita’s murderer(s).

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“Transgender Day of Remembrance seeks to highlight the losses we face due to anti-transgender bigotry and violence. I am no stranger to the need to fight for our rights, and the right to simply exist is first and foremost. With so many seeking to erase transgender people -- sometimes in the most brutal ways possible -- it is vitally important that those we lose are remembered, and that we continue to fight for justice,” said Smith.

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According to transequality.org, since November 2021, 47 transgender people have lost their lives to violence.

According to a report from the Human Rights Campaign, at least 32 of those victims were killed in 2022.

The report, released last week, also stated that 85% of transgender and gender-nonconforming victims of fatal violence since 2013 have been people of color. Black transgender women represented 63% of all victims. It also found 77% of victims were younger than 35, and more than 4 in 5 were transgender women.

HRC has been tracking violence against the transgender and gender nonconforming community for the past 10 years, reporting at least 300 violent deaths since 2013.

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The week leading up to the TDOR is known as Transgender Awareness Week and helps to raise visibility for transgender people and address issues the community faces.

“Violence or discrimination of any type against a person because of who they are is wrong and inhumane. This Transgender Day of Remembrance, I call on my fellow Americans to stand up against hate and take a moment to honor the lives of those transgender and gender-diverse Americans lost due to hate and senseless violence. At HHS, we see you and stand with you,” said Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, Xavier Becerra

Check with a local transgender organization, LGBTQ Center, Gay-Straight Alliance or other support groups to find out if there are any events happening in your area.

For more information about Transgender Day of Remembrance, visit www.tdor.info.

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