Today marks the 20th Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR). A day to honor the lives of transgender, gender nonconforming, and non-binary people who have been taken away from us due to transphobic violence, fear, and ignorance.
Today, we honor transgender, gender nonconforming, and non-binary people lost to anti-trans violence. The world was robbed too early of their genius, creativity, and love.
Monica Roberts, journalist and trans elder, reminds us that TDOR got its start in the wake of the November 1998 murder of Rita Hester in Boston. Rita was misgendered, misnamed, and otherwise disrespected in the gay and mainstream Boston press. TDOR began as protests in Boston and San Francisco the following year and has grown into the international day of observance we know it as today.1
In the year since the last Day of Remembrance, over 20 transgender, gender nonconforming, and non-binary people were murdered in the United States.
We acknowledge the systems of violence — racism, transphobia, and transmisogyny — that were ever-present in their lives and caused their deaths.
For many of the transgender, gender nonconforming, and non-binary people killed in the past year, this violence was perpetrated by people they knew, intimate partners who were meant to love them, or from law enforcement who was meant to protect them. We deserve more. We deserve to be loved, we deserve to be safe, and we deserve to be free from violence.
Today, we celebrate trans resilience. We uplift transgender, gender nonconforming, and non-binary people who resist these systems and create new realities as we live our lives each day.
We are called to honor and respect transgender, gender nonconforming, and non-binary people today and all days — in life and after death.
Today, as you mourn, consider how you can make sure transgender, gender nonconforming, and non-binary people know you are with us. We are strong and resilient, but we should not have to carry this weight on our own.
Let’s keep fighting.
Victoria M. Rodríguez-Roldán, Sayre Reece, Reese Rathjen, Meghan Maury, Julie Childs, and Barbara Satin
Tonight Barbara Satin our distinguished colleague and trans elder, will co-lead her 20th Trans Day of Remembrance in the Twin Cities (MN). Here is an excerpt from tonight’s program book.
“We Shouldn’t Be Here Tonight….”
….we should be in other places, doing other things – delighting in our families of kith or kin, enjoying a movie, savoring a good meal, catching up on our studies, watching a political debate. Anything but this!
But we’re here. And many of us have been here – or in similar spaces – every year for the past two decades of the Transgender Day of Remembrance. This bittersweet gathering has focused public attention on the violence that trans and gender nonconforming people face on a daily basis as they strive to live in the world as their authentic selves.
In the year since the last Day of Remembrance, 24 trans people in the United States have been murdered. Nearly all were women and 91% were Black women, 81% were under the age of 30 and 68% lived in the South.
But this is not just a U.S. phenomenon – 331 trans people were murdered across the globe in the past 12 months. Their memories also will be lifted up in memorial services in cities across the globe. We honor their lives tonight also.
But, the Transgender Day of Remembrance is designed to do more than just mourn the loss of our trans martyrs; these world-wide gatherings aim to also provide visibility, support and empowerment to trans and gender nonconforming people who gather tonight in solidarity with friends and allies.
We shouldn’t be here tonight, but we are and will continue to so as a testament to courage – and a cry for hope and justice.