Transgender Day of Remembrance – Wednesday 20 November 2019

20 November 2019

Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) is an annual observance on November 20th that honours the memory of the transgender people whose lives were lost in acts of anti-trans violence. TDoR falls the day after Transgender Awareness Week where people and organizations around the world help to raise visibility for transgender people and address issues the community faces.

transgender flag

This year marks the 20th anniversary of TDOR, which was started in 1999 by transgender advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith as a vigil to honour the memory of Rita Hester, a  transgender African American woman who was murdered in Allston, Massachusetts on 28 November, 1998. In response to her murder a candlelight vigil held the following Friday (4 December 1998) in which about 250 people participated.

The vigil has come to commemorate all the transgender people lost to violence since Rita Hester's death, and began an important tradition that has become the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance. It has slowly evolved and in 2010, TDoR was observed in over 185 cities throughout more than 20 countries. In 2018 the British Foreign Office flew the trans flag on the top of their building to remember those who have been lost.

While TDoR is a critical event, scholars and activists committed to advancing intersectional approaches to trans politics continue to highlight the importance of seeing transphobic violence as inherently connected to race, gender, and class. This is reflected in the disproportionate instances of violence against trans women of colour in general, black and Latina transgender women in particular.

Typically, a TDoR memorial includes a reading of the names of those who lost their lives from 20th November  of the former year to 20th November of the current year, and may include other actions, such as candlelight vigils, dedicated church services, marches, art shows, food drives and film screenings. This year events in London include a ceremony by the LGBT Humanists and Humanists UK at 8pm at Fitzrovia Chapel (2 Pearson Square, London, W1T 3BF). Read more about Transgender Day of Remembrance on the Humanism.org.uk website.

This article was written by our LGBTQI+ Staff Network.

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