Nov 10, 2023
November 20th is the Transgender Day of Remembrance, an observance for those whose lives have been lost to transphobia. Started in 1999 in response to the death of Rita Hester, a Black transgender woman whose murder remains unsolved, it has grown over the years and is now observed worldwide. This day allows those who have loved and lost to mourn together, but it is also an opportunity to reflect upon and challenge the societal circumstances that allow trans and gender non-conforming folks to suffer transphobic crimes. Beyond being harmed by blatant acts of transphobia, trans folks are put in dangerous situations when they don’t have legal protections and equal access to opportunities. Since the majority of trans victims are women or femmes and many are Black, Indigenous, or people of colour, it is also important to acknowledge the danger caused by racism and transmisogyny. While the statistics regarding murders of transgender people are sobering (392 deaths from different parts of the world have been recorded between October 1, 2022 and September 30, 2023, and more may never have been reported) each of those people were more than numbers. Transgender and gender non-conforming people, like anyone else, are valuable members of their communities, are loved by friends and family (blood or chosen), and deserve to live their lives to the fullest. It is important that we remember and support the trans community not just on November 20th but every day. While we honour those who have been lost we should also aim to improve the quality of life for all transgender people still living.