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With the arrival of November, we’ll soon be upon Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR). Observed annually on November 20th, TDOR is a day to mourn and honor the lives of the vibrant, beloved transgender, non-binary and gender non-conforming people lost to violence and suicide in the year prior. The date marks the birthday of Rita Hester, a Black transgender woman who was murdered in 1998. Gwendolyn Ann Smith, a transgender advocate, started TDOR in honor of her friend.
Black and migrant trans women of color are disproportionally effected by this violence, and the numbers reported each year offer just a small piece of the picture. In the U.S.A. and in most countries, data including gender identity is not collected in crime reporting, leaving the reports to be made only by family and friends of the deceased to LGBTQIA+ watchdog organizations like Trans Lives Matter and the Human Rights Campaign. Each year, there are even more cases that will go unreported, and those that are often receive very little media attention.
Room for All has added a new page to our website with a TDOR Guide at www.roomforall.com/tdor. This year, we will be observing TDOR through a virtual observance that will be posted on the same page and on our social media on November 19th. Within the transgender community, the Reading of the Names of lives lost is a major part of TDOR, and we will be sharing that list for your reference on this page as well. Additionally, we will include a bulletin cover and insert representing the list in full. Each of the names that will be lifted up in remembrance this year was a person with a full life ahead, with people who loved or would love them.
Their stories, those of every sibling we will honor this year remind us of the importance of visible support of the transgender community. In a time marked by fear of what some don’t yet understand, where policy that would exacerbate this violence is being developed, we need active allies more than ever. Rather than a time for despair, TDOR is meant to be a time that galvanizes us to defend transgender lives, especially those of trans people of color, wherever we are.