Say their Names: Honouring Transgender Day of Remembrance
Highlighting the lives lost from anti-transgender bigotry and violence
“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.”
– Gwendolyn Ann Smith, Transgender Day of Remembrance Founder
November 20, 2021, marks the 22nd Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoR), a time to reflect on the lives lost from anti-transgender violence over the past 12 months. Gwendolyn Ann Smith introduced TDoR in 1999 as a visual way to honor the memory of Rita Hester, a black transgender woman murdered two days before her 35th birthday in 1998.
Trans communities in San Francisco and Boston held vigils proclaiming that Hester’s death would not be in vain. Sadly, her death represents just one of the hundreds of murders against transgender women of color. In 2017, 61% of hate violence related homicides of LGBTQ and people living with HIV were transgender women of color.
Trans activists describe TDoR as a day to honor the lives, not just deaths, of trans people across the world while placing trans BIPOC at the center. TDoR fosters community, advocacy, and a message of living your truth while publicly mourning the loss of our trans siblings.
Ways to Mark Transgender Day of Remembrance
TDoR might look a little different this year due to the health and safety concerns with COVID-19. In addition to the tradition of hosting and attending vigils, consider these other socially distanced ways to honor TDoR:
- Spread Awareness. Check out these social media resources from Transgender Europe to educate your friends, family, and followers. Challenge anti-trans violence by highlighting resources, sharing stories, and working for trans rights while using the hashtag #TDoR2021.
- Support efforts benefiting transgender communities by giving to organizations that center BIPOC, sex workers, immigrants, veterans, youth, and elderly people. Refer to curated lists like 32 Black-led Queer and Trans Organizations, 20 Black Trans-led Organizations, and 10 Trans Advocacy Organizations.
- Have time and skills to share with the community? Many of the organizations listed at the end of this blog need volunteers for event planning, legal, policy, fundraising, and social media efforts.
- Share your Story. TDoR is not about numbers; it’s about people. Amplify your story by sharing it with GLAAD or another organization with a strong media presence.
- Never stop resisting. Speak up for legal protections, work with your elected officials, run for office, or organize a protest.
Say their Names, Read their Stories, and Remember Them
Since last year’s TDoR, 60 lives in the US and one in Canada have been lost due to anti-transgender violence. These numbers vastly underrepresent the violence traced to heteropatriarchy, classism, racism, neocolonialism, and ableism on the trans community this year. Consider the murders of trans folks misgendered by their families and the media, the disproportionate impacts of COVID-19 on vulnerable communities, suicides from bullying and estrangement, death from the inaccessibility of healthcare, and more.
In addition to saying their names, honor the memories and identities of victims by sharing something about their lives rather than citing the means of death. Use this list to get started on your research.
The names of our transgender brothers, sisters, and siblings lost to hate violence since this time last year include:
Brooklyn DeShauna Smith
Angel Haynes 'Angel Unique'
Fendi Mon'ezah Armstrong 'Peaches'
Yunieski Carey Herrera 'Yuni'
Asia Jynaé Foster
Kimberly Susan Fial
Jaheim Pugh Jaheim Barbie
Courtney 'Eshay' Key
Tyianna 'Davarea' Alexander
Bianca Bankz 'Muﬃn'
Alexus/Kimmy Icon Braxton
Jasmine Bright 'Jazzy'
Jeﬀrey Bright 'JJ'
Diamond Kyree Sanders/Diamond Nicole
Krys Brandon Ruiz
Natalia Smüt Lopez
Keri Washington 'Bobo'
Jahaira DeAlto Balenciaga
Whispering Wind Bear Spirit
Danika 'Danny' Henson
Oliver Taylor 'Ollie'
Poe Black/Oliver Jackson 'Legion' 'Tommi'
Novaa Ru Watson/EJ Boykin
CoCo Chanel Wortham
Pooh Johnson 'Titanizer'
Zoella Rose Martnez 'Zoey'
Disaya Monaee Smith
Kiér Laprí Karter
Royal Poetical Starz
Rikkey Outumuro 'Tru Starlet'
Jenny De Leon
Resources for Advocacy, Information, Mutual Aid, and Survivors
Today, we follow in footsteps of trans activists like Gwendolyn Ann Smith, Sylvia Rivera, Lee Brewster, and Cece McDonald who trailblazed the way for racial justice, immigrant rights, prison abolition, disability justice, indigenous organizing, and more. The research, policies, and social services of today date back to the foundations laid by trans and gender-nonconforming activists and scholars throughout history.
Keep reading below for additional information and resources on trans rights, anti-trans violence, and opportunities to get involved:
Online Resources, PFLAG Canada
Support, Toronto PFLAG
Friends of Ruby, Friends of Ruby
Programs, Black Queer Youth Collective
Calls to Advocacy, Queer Black Network
2spirits Resources, 2 Spirits
About, Six Nations Pride
Transgender Awareness Week, Government of Canada
Key Transgender Support Resources, Canadian AIDS Society
Ways to Get Involved, Egale
Resources, Solutions Not Punishment Collaborative (SNApCo)
Dismantling a Culture of Violence, Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation
Get Legal Help, Silvia Rivera Law Project
Find Resources, Transgender Law Center
Mutual Aid and Emergency Funds, National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE)
Get Help, Anti-violence Project (AVP)
Trans Action Kit, Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN)
Our Work, Trans Women of Color Collective
TransJustice, The Audre Lorde Project
Take Action, National LGBTQ Task Force
National Advocacy, Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG)
Take Action, Center Action Network at Center Link
Trans Murder Monitoring (TMM), Transrespect versus Transphobia (TvT) Worldwide
Trans Day of Remembrance Campaign, Transgender Europe (TGEU)