Transgender Day of Remembrance

What is the purpose of the Transgender Day of Remembrance?
The Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoR) is an internationally recognized day of action to memorialize the transgender and gender non-conforming people who have been killed as a result of anti-transgender hate-motivated violence. The Trans Day of Remembrance is held in in hundreds of locations across the globe to support ending violence against transgender and gender non-conforming people, to memorialize those transgender and gender non-conforming people who have lost their lives as a result of hate-motivated violence within the last year, to raise awareness about the high rates of violence transgender and gender non-conforming people face on a daily basis, and to recognize the contributions transgender and gender non-conforming people make within our communities.

How did TDOR begin?
One of the earliest documented public vigils was held in 1995 for the death of Chanelle Picket in Boston. However, TDoR began yearly in response to the death of Rita Hester’s murder on November 28th, 1998 in Boston, only 5 weeks after the horrific torture and death of a young gay man, Matthew Shepard. Boston news outlets covered Rita Hester’s death very negatively and inappropriately, prompting activism, marches, and the Remembering Our Dead Project, which tracks transgender and gender non-conforming people whose deaths are the result of hate-motivated violence. In 1999 in San Francisco, the first Transgender Day of Remembrance was held. Each year on November 20th, TDoR is held in communities across the globe to memorialize those lost and push towards a violence-free future.

Why is the Transgender Day of Remembrance important?
In 2006 a study was released that showed 66% of the 264 transgender and gender non-conforming respondents from the mid-west had experienced or witnessed sexual violence. In a study published in 2007 in Virginia, 57% of the 350 transgender participants said they felt that their gender identity was the reason they had been forced into sex one or more times. The same study reported that 30% of the participants experienced 3 to 5 physical assaults and 12% had experienced more than 20 physical assaults in their lifetime. 69% of those who had experienced physical violence perceived their gender identity to be the primary reason behind their victimization.

Research shows that experiencing violence significantly increases a person’s chances of experiencing more violence in the future, experiencing homelessness and poverty, being underemployed or unemployed, being less likely to have access to health insurance or adequate health care, having less access to education and information about nutrition, and increases the likelihood a person will experience depression, have poor mental and emotional health, and have low self-worth. TDoR combats violence and the impacts of violence by reminding transgender and gender non-conforming people that the communities in which they live value them, raising awareness about hate-motivated violence, and giving people access to information and resources about transgender identities and experiences and preventing violence in their own relationships and communities.

Greater Lafayette TDoR
Each year, Trans Lafayette organizes a local Trans Day of Remembrance in collaboration with Pride Lafayette and Purdue University. More details to follow soon!