Today is the Transgender Day of Remembrance, when we honor the lives of those who died because of anti-transgender hatred or prejudice. I wish all of my transgender friends and readers love and support on this day of mourning.
Content warning for transphobic violence and suicide.
According to Transgender Europe’s Trans Murder Monitoring (TMM) project, 320 trans and gender diverse people were reported murdered around the world between October 1, 2022 and September 30, 2023.
The National Center For Transgender Equality’s Trans Remembrance Project counts 438 trans people who have died in 2023 (through November 8), in the U.S. and internationally, and offers short profiles for some of them. Overall, the violent deaths far outweigh the nonviolent ones—but even among the nonviolent ones, the greatest number are deaths by suicide, a cause we should strive to prevent.
In the United States, Sue Kerr of Pittsburgh Lesbian Correspondents also compiles a list of transgender, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming people who have died by violence.
All of these lists are far too long, though even one name would be too many. They are also likely undercounts, as many deaths are unreported or reported under a name that hides and denies the person’s trans identity. The lists, as always, are predominantly of trans women of color.
For those of us who are cisgender, today is a good day to reflect on what each of us must do to help end the violence against trans people, starting with our own actions, e.g., using someone’s self-stated name and pronouns, speaking out when we hear anti-trans remarks or hear of anti-trans actions in our communities, and educating our children, no matter what their own identities are, about what it means to be transgender or gender nonconforming and how to be supportive, respectful, and welcoming. We can celebrate and support the lives of trans people and listen to their stories. We can urge lawmakers to pass trans-inclusive anti-discrimination legislation and to reject legislation that demeans and ignores trans people’s gender identities and human rights. We can donate to organizations like the Transgender Law Center, Sylvia Rivera Law Project, National Center for Transgender Equality, Anti-Violence Project, and Trans Youth Equality Foundation, among others. (As always, do your own due diligence before donating to any nonprofit.)
The Transgender Day of Remembrance was founded by Gwendolyn Ann Smith to honor Rita Hester, murdered on November 28th, 1998, in Allston, Massachusetts. To learn more about the observance, I encourage you to read these two pieces by trans writers:
May the lives of those lost not be forgotten. May they inspire us to continue working for justice and peace.