Trans Day of Remembrance
Why TDOR is needed now more than ever
November 20, 2023
Trans Day of Remembrance, observed every year on the 20th November, is a day to pay tribute to the trans lives lost to anti-trans violence.
The day was founded in 1999 by Gwendolyn Ann Smith, a trans activist, in honour of trans woman Rita Hester who was killed in 1998 (Vogue, 2019).
“Transgender Day of Remembrance seeks to highlight the losses we face due to anti- transgender bigotry and violence. I am no stranger to the need to fight for our rights, and the right to simply exist is first and foremost. 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.” – Gwendolyn Ann Smith
24 years later, and Trans Day of Remembrance continues to mark the loss of trans lives. The great tragedy of this day of remembrance is the ever-growing list of names we mourn. When we take pause on Armistice Day, or on the 11th September, we reflect on a number of lives lost that, while utterly devastating, doesn’t increase each year.
But, now more than ever, trans lives continue to be endangered. Recent research has found that hate crime against transgender people have increased by 11% in a year. Additionally, hate crimes towards LGBTQIA+ people are the most likely to involve violence (Stonewall, 2023).
Attitudes towards transgender people in the UK are becoming increasingly negative — “the proportion who characterise themselves as ‘not at all prejudiced’ against people who are transgender has fallen from 82% to 64% since 2019” — contributing to the increase in anti-trans violence (National Centre for Social Research, 2023).
But why? Well, the sudden boom in conversations about trans lives almost definitely play a role. Each time a morning show airs a “debate” on trans identities and invites a transphobe on for “balance”, trans lives are endangered. Each time a parent is called a “child-abuser” for allowing their trans child to wear the uniform they feel most comfortable in, trans lives are endangered. Each time a certain author decides to tweet… you get the picture.
The result is catastrophic. And it’s now extended beyond the cruelty of the internet and made its way into parliament. The very people who are supposed to protect the people of the UK are loudly and proudly contributing to the deaths of its most vulnerable residents. But I guess Rishi Sunak would just call that “common sense”.
So today, I will be taking a quiet moment to mourn and to remember. But just a moment. Because the fight for trans rights is ongoing, and it needs us to be louder than we’ve ever been before.
If you’d like to donate to support trans people, these are some great organisations:
Black Trans Foundation
Your money goes a long way in supporting trans and non-binary people.