November 20th is the annual Trans Day of Remembrance, and we invite you all to honor trans individuals who we have lost. Although they have passed, the Trans Day of Remembrance (sometimes called TDOR) is a day to celebrate trans individuals and their powerful contributions. TDOR was started in 1999 by Gwendolyn Ann Smith serving as a vigil for Rita Hester, a trans woman killed in 1998. Now, it is a way to honor all trans people lost to violence since her death (GLAAD).
As Smith says: “Transgender Day of Remembrance seeks to highlight the losses we face due to anti-transgender bigotry and violence…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.” (Stonewall Columbus)
Why is Trans Day of Remembrance necessary?
Trans Day of Remembrance is necessary because the amazing LGBTQ+ community we have now is here because of the great strides the trans community has made, especially trans people of color (POC). Without their support, our community would not be here, so we urge you to remember their names and share their memories.
Dismissing the role of trans POC in our community dismisses LGBTQ+ history. “The political and cultural contributions of black and Latinx trans women are deeply relied on for the progression of the LGBTQ community, but that same community is often left fending for themselves when it comes to securing access to resources necessary to survive.” (USA Today)
Honoring their contributions cannot be divorced from what they risk not just in their activism, but in simply living as their authentic and true selves. We must take time to acknowledge the dangers the trans community faces every day. According to the Human Rights Campaign, in 2019 at least 25 trans or gender non-conforming people were fatally shot. 91% of them were Black trans women. It is important to bring up as well that trans individuals are commonly denied housing and unable to access social programs. With all of the work trans individuals have contributed, this is the call to allies of the trans community.
Trans Day of Remembrance Flag:
What can you do for Trans Day of Remembrance?
As Palm Springs celebrates Pride, a time of joy, please take a moment to remember and thank those we have lost in the trans community for Trans Day of Remembrance.
Allies of the trans community are encouraged to educate themselves on those who have passed, as well as the trans community as a whole. Organizations like GLAAD host virtual vigils, and you might be able to find or start one in your area. The LGBTQ Center Coachella hosted their 5th Annual East Valley Transgender Day of Remembrance on Thursday, November 17th, but our activism does not stop once the day is over.
Activism should not stop once the day is over. In a time where trans rights are endangered, listen to trans voices, educate on trans issues, and be sure to vote. In addition, organizations like our own are always available to guide you on how to support and give back to the trans community.
We invite you to utilize our resources below and sign up for our newsletter to stay updated with trans-specific events and programs.
Transgender Community Resources:
The Center Coachella: Free Binder Program
The Center Coachella: Queer and Trans* Closet
The Center Coachella: Mecca Office Hours to Connect with Queer & Trans Youth
Transgender Youth Groups Near Me:
The LGBTQ Community Center of the Desert: Youth Programs & Services
Transgender Community Online:
The LGBTQ Community Center of the Desert: Trans Tuesdays virtual via Zoom
The LGBTQ Community Center of the Desert: Brave Spaces virtual via Zoom