Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoR) is internationally recognized on November 20th every year. The event is held in November to honor Rita Hester, whose murder on November 28th, 1998 kicked off the "Remembering Our Dead" web project and a San Francisco candlelight vigil in 1999. Rita Hester’s murder — like most anti-transgender murder cases — remains unsolved.
TDoR serves several purposes: It raises public awareness of hate crimes against transgender and gender non-conforming people, which is not covered by current media; it is a day to publicly mourn and honor the lives of the members of our community who might otherwise be forgotten. Through the vigil, we express love and respect for our transgender and gender non-conforming children, family members, friends, colleagues, neighbors and selves in the face of public indifference and hatred.
Across the United States, 2021 has seen at least 46 transgender or gender non-conforming people fatally shot or killed by violent means. Statistics show this number may not be an accurate reflection of the lives lost this year, as too often these stories go unreported — or misreported. We recognize that the majority of our community members lost this year were Black and Latinx transgender women. This statistic is one our has community faced in years prior and serves as a perpetual reminder of the intersectional realities our trans and gender non-conforming loved ones face in a world that oppresses them across lines of sex, race, and gender.
Anti-transgender violence takes many forms. It looks like murder, physical or verbal harassment, job or housing discrimination and unsafe educational spaces. But it also takes the form of misgendering people, laughing at someone’s pronoun usage, inaccessible gender inclusive restrooms, stopping someone you perceive as transgender from using the facilities they choose, becoming aggressive after finding out that someone you were romantically or sexually pursuing is trans, barring young people from exploring interests that don’t fulfill outdated perceptions of gender roles and a list of many other forms of interpersonal violence that contribute and lead to the discrimination and death of transgender and gender nonconforming people in our society. These, among many others, are some of the very reasons that Pride Tree was founded - in order to work towards a future where no child has to experience these inequities. For this reason, we see TDoR not only as a moment of memorialization, but of solidarity and commitment to honor and #ProtectTransLives.
Simultaneously, as we honor those we have lost, we must use this as an opportunity to whole-heartedly recommit to trans inclusion. We can do this by serving as allies and co-conspirators providing support to our trans community members, their families and friends; encouraging resources and education to those who still lack the understanding necessary to be good allies; and advocating for protections wherever we can.
The Pride Tree and our community partners stand in solidarity with the transgender community. This week and every week, we continue to provide consistent, affirming programs and opportunities for our transgender and gender non-conforming youth and their families. In order to inspire movement towards change, please join us in taking the time to learn about the Human Rights Campaign’s Pledge to End Violence Against Black and Brown Transgender Women.
Director of Events