Transgender Day of Remembrance: What is it and Why is it Important?

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As Transgender Awareness Week draws to a close, we explore why the past week has been so important to the trans community.

Transgender Awareness week is typically observed on the second week of November. It is a one-week celebration leading up to Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR), which memorializes victims of transphobic violence.

This year it fell on the 13th – 19th of November and has been a significant week for many all over the country. Throughout this time, members of the transgender community come together to draw attention to the life experiences that come with being trans.

The idea is to educate and promote an understanding of trans lives with the aim of eliminating transphobia and violence towards trans people. The movement assumes that people who are comfortable with the gender they were born with, may not realise the struggles for those who do not identify with theirs.

As well as the week raising awareness for people who may not know so much about the transgender community, it also brings people together. The events which go on through the week allow the transgender community to celebrate and be proud of who they are.

Transgender Day of Remembrance

Today, 20th November 2019, is Transgender Day of Remembrance. TDOR is observed internationally to commemorate the people who suffered attacks or were killed due to being transgender.

The day was first founded by Gwendolyn Ann Smith, a transgender woman who implemented the day of remembrance after the death of Rita Hester. Rita Hester was a transgender woman who worked in Boston, educating people about the struggles she and the community had faced.

On the 28th November, 1998, Rita Hester was stabbed 20 times in her own home. She was rushed to hospital after a neighbour called the police, however she died from a cardiac arrest soon after. Years later her murderer has still not been found. Gwendolyn decided to create TDOR a year later in 1999 to memorialize and remember Rita, along with all the other transphobic acts committed.

A Hopeful Future

By remembering the acts of violence which have taken place against the transgender community, TDOR aims to move forwards to a more open and accepting society. Unfortunately, we are not just remembering the violence which has gone on in the past, but the cruelty which continues into our present time. However, it is the positive actions people are taking to raise awareness which will move us into a kinder future.

So, if you didn’t already know, then now you do! Brighton takes great pride in being the LGBTQ capital of the UK, so we’re hopeful everyone will rally together to show their support of the trans community. It’s time for everyone to be proud of their authentic selves! While remembering the tragedies, but also the achievements the transgender community have made so far.

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