November 13 was the first day of Transgender Awareness Week, a 7-day stretch dedicated to highlighting the vast range of issues faced by members of the transgender and gender non-conforming community through education and advocacy, which culminates in the observance of the Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoR) on November 20.
The first TDoR was held as a vigil in 1999 in honor of the recent deaths Rita Hester and Chanelle Pickett, two Black transgender women from Boston who were victims of anti-transgender violence and subsequent transphobic media coverage. Now, TDoR is a yearly memorialization of victims of anti-transgender violence – both in memory of lost members of the transgender and gender non-conforming community this year as well as the long and tragic history of fatal transphobia.
Transgender people live with a much higher likelihood than cisgender people of experiencing violent crime. The 2023 Trans Murder Monitoring Report shows that the number of reported murders of transgender and gender non-conforming people this year is just shy of 2021’s deadliest year of anti-transgender violence on record, with transgender women and femmes, especially Black women, disproportionately affected.
With the transgender community facing unprecedented rates of anti-transgender laws, violence, and relentless public transphobia, this year’s Transgender Awareness Week holds even more weight than ever before when it comes to the crucial need for recognition and allyship. With an overwhelming amount of mainstream media coverage and conversation about transgender and gender non-conforming people riddled with misinformation and bigotry, this week is a call to take the time to truly educate yourself on the truths of transgender experience and discrimination.
Listening to and amplifying transgender voices on personal experience and critical needs for advocacy to ensure the safety and livelihoods of all members of the community is a crucial first step with an importance difficult to overstate. As we approach TDoR while fighting through years of record levels of anti-transgender violence and a future that often feels overwhelmingly bleak, hear the call of Transgender Awareness Week to dedicate yourself to allyship and supporting the transgender and gender non-conforming community.
Holiday background and social justice
In person events
Trans Awareness Week: Gender Affirming Closet (Old Dominion)
Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out By: Susan Kuklin