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Transgender Day of Remembrance

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November 18, 2022

Transgender Day of Remembrance , which honors the memory of the transgender and non-binary people whose lives were lost due to acts of anti-transgender violence, is observed annually on November 20.

Gwendolyn Ann Smith, a transgender advocate, established the Transgender Day of Remembrance in 1999 as a vigil to honor Rita Hester, a transgender woman killed in 1998. The vigil served to remember all the transgender people who had lost their lives to violence since Rita Hester's death. What started as a single person's desire to hold on to the names and record the loss to the community has become an International Day of Remembrance.

"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." 
- Transgender Day of Remembrance founder Gwendolyn Ann Smith

Taking part in the Transgender Day of Remembrance raises public awareness of hate crimes against transgender people and publicizes and honors the lives of transgender people who might otherwise be forgotten. We express love and respect through vigil in the face of national indifference and hatred. During the Day of Remembrance, transgender people and their allies can stand in together and honor those who have lost their lives due to anti-transgender violence. It is also essential to use the Day of Remembrance to educate students, teachers, and administrators about transgender issues, to prevent further hatred and violence against the transgender and non-binary communities.

Our time to be loud and visible and raise awareness about transgender and non-binary people has come. Here are the actions you can take - but don't stop there. The more people who show they care, the more hearts and minds we will change.

Take Action:

For additional education and personal development related to diversity, equity and inclusion, the following resources are available: DEI Education and Resources, DEI & Antiracism Resourcesfrom the UNC Libraries, the Education Equity Toolkitfrom the Colorado Department of Higher Education, and the UNITE workshops for faculty, staff, and students.