TDOR began in 1999 when activists held a vigil to honour Rita Hester, a 34-year-old African American transgender woman who was killed the previous year in Massachusetts. Gwendolyn Ann Smith organised what has grown into a worldwide commemoration of trans people killed by violence. Hundreds of thousands of people across the globe now observe this solemn day by honouring the memory of the fallen and holding local remembrance events. We encourage our community members and allies to find local events to honour these precious lives.
Statement from TLDEF Executive Director Jillian Weiss
“On this Transgender Day of Remembrance we reflect on countless trans individuals whose lives were cut short by senseless acts of violence, simply for living authentically. This year alone 26 trans people have been killed by hate in the United States, and those are only those we know of. Many such deaths go unreported. Nearly all those killed this year were people of colour. Rampant discrimination — including barriers to employment, health care, education and public accommodations — is the precursor to such violence. It is also a wake-up call for those who care about the trans community to stand together, fight for protections and work to foster a climate of understanding and acceptance.
“We must all do our part to uplift our community, celebrate our vibrancy, and honour our immense contributions to the world. TLDEF will never waiver in our commitment to those we serve. Each day we will work for the betterment of trans lives, and do so as a tribute to every trans person who paid the ultimate price for being themselves.”