November 20 is Transgender Day of Remembrance for trans people killed in acts of hate-based violence. It aims to raise awareness of the challenges that transgender and gender non-conforming people around the world continue to face.
What is Transgender Day of Remembrance?
The Transgender Day of Remembrance was founded in 1999 by trans rights activist Gwendolyn Anne Smith to honor the memory of trans woman Rita Hester, who was murdered in 1998. This event was dedicated to all trans people who have died as a result of violence since the death of Rita Hester, and marked the beginning of an important tradition that has become the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance.
Why is it important?
ECOM's regional repor
t on violations of the right to health of LGBT people in the region of Eastern Europe and Central Asia in 2022 showed that gender identity is a basis for systemic discrimination against trans people in most countries of the region.
Psychological and physical violence, sexual violence, blackmail, outing and extortion, as well as refusals by law enforcement to provide assistance remain common phenomena that trans people have to face in everyday life, regardless of their country of residence.
Unfortunately, in some cases, transphobia results in irreparable acts of aggression. Between October 1, 2022 and September 30, 2023, 320 murders of transgender and gender non-conforming people were documented worldwide
. Year after year, this figure consistently attests to the high levels of deadly violence against trans people.
How to participate in Transgender Day of Remembrance?
- Check out stories and share them. To better understand why this day is important, learn about the stories of trans people. Share this information with others to spread awareness.
- Support organizations. Contribute to organizations that support trans rights. This could be financial assistance or volunteering, or simply sharing information on social media. For example, you can share the TikTok above with your friends and acquaintances.
- Join events. Organize or join events in your community. This could be a minute of silence, an informal meeting or an educational initiative.
"Transgender people continue to fight for their rights, for equality and for recognition of their identity. Remembrance Day is not only a time of mourning, but also an opportunity to raise our voices in support of the transgender community. Let's work together to create a society where everyone can be themselves without fear or prejudice. We remember and support those who follow their own path, and continue to work to ensure that everyone can feel accepted and respected,” says Daniyar Maytikov, facilitator of the Trans* People's Working Group on HIV and Sexual Health in EECA.
Together, we can be better allies to our transgender and gender non-conforming friends and colleagues in everyday life by helping to create safer, more inclusive workplaces and communities. Because trans people deserve to be treated with the same respect and care as the rest of us.