Transgender Awareness Week begins, raising visibility for transgender people and issues they face

ORLANDO, Fla. — This week is Transgender Awareness Week, which helps to raise visibility for transgender people and address issues the community faces.

Transgender Awareness Week takes place between Nov. 13-19 and leads up to Transgender Day of Remembrance on Nov. 20, a day that honors the memory of those murdered because of anti-transgender prejudice.

TDOR was founded in 1999 by transgender advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith as a vigil to honor 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.

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

“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 The Human Rights Campaign at least 25 transgender and gender non-conforming people have been killed in the United States in 2023.

Worldwide, according to a new report, 320 trans and gender-diverse people were killed in 2023.

The Trans Murder Monitoring report tracks murders reported in the media each year, this year’s report includes deaths between Oct 1, 2022, and Sept. 30, 2023.

94% of those killed were trans women or trans-feminine people.

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“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 resources to learn about transgender people, check out: https://glaad.org/transgender/

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

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