By Sawyer Goldsmith
Every November 20th, on Transgender Day of Remembrance, we honor the memory of transgender and nonbinary people whose lives were lost in acts of anti-trans violence. In the past year, we know that at least 320 trans people were killed – 256 of whom were People of Color and the vast majority of whom were trans feminine. We know that there are untold numbers of others whose deaths were never reported.
These are terrifying numbers to trans people and our allies. It’s hard to face that we even need a day to commemorate those lost in our community due to hatred.
I don’t share these statistics to scare you or make you sad. I share them to help you understand the real and lived experiences of trans people, especially of trans women of color.
I share them with defiance and hope: despite all the attacks on us, trans people have always existed and we will never stop existing. The violence perpetrated against us will never stop us from living as our true selves and fighting for our rights.
TDOR was started in 1999 by trans activist Gwendolyn Ann Smith as a vigil to honor the memory of Rita Hester, a trans woman who was killed in 1998. Since then, the concept has transformed and extended into Trans Day of Resilience. TDOR reminds us to not only mourn but also to uplift the trans community, especially trans People of Color, who have long resisted violence and fought for their own survival.
This Trans Day of Remembrance and Resilience, honor the power of trans people in the face of hardship as well as the trans lives lost by fighting back against attacks on trans and queer people. We urge everyone, but especially cis allies, to get involved in our Community Mobilization work, such as our upcoming Thrive Phonebanking action.
Please join me in honoring those we lost this year and celebrate those who are fighting for us to live. Zichronam Livracha. May their memories be a blessing and a reminder, always, that we must act for a better world.