Today marks Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoR), which is celebrated at the end of Transgender Awareness Week, aimed at highlighting some of the struggles faced by transgender people, raising awareness and inclusion, exploring how transgender people are portrayed in the media and how policies and laws have changed.
Transgender Day of Remembrance began in 1998 as a web-based project by Gwendoline Ann Smith to remember the life of transgender woman Rita Hester. The event has evolved into an international day of action and remembrance being observed in over 185 cities in more than 20 countries.
Rita Hester was murdered in November 1998 in Massachusetts, US, in an act of anti-transgender violence. The lack of response from the nation and media to her murder led to a candle-lit vigil being held in San Francisco the next year. This vigil has grown to an internationally observed day to remember all transgender people lost through acts of violence and transphobia in the past year.
“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.” – Transgender Day of Remembrance founder Gwendolyn Ann Smith