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Transgender Day of Remembrance 2020

By Robert E. Williams II (they/them)

November 20th, 2020 marks the 22nd annual Transgender Day of Remembrance. This yearly observance started following the murder of Rita Hester, who was killed in her home on November 28th, 1998. Gwendolyn Ann Smith, a trans advocate, organized a vigil for Hester on the first anniversary of her death to recognize the loss of trans folks who faced violence since Hester’s passing (“The Names You…”; Owens, Schubak; 20 Nov, 2020).

As of today, 37 transgender or gender non-conforming folks were killed in 2020 (from properly reported deaths). The list below names each individual lost this year as reported by the HRC:

Dustin Parker

Neulisa Luciano Ruiz

Yampi Mendez Arocho

Scott/Scottlynn Devore

Monika Diamond


Johanna Metzger

Serena Angelique Velazquez Ramos

Layla Pelaez Sanchez

Penelope Diaz Ramirez

Nina Pop

Helle Jae O’Regan

Tony McDade

Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells

Riah Milton

Jayne Thompson

Selena Reyes-Hernandez

Brian “Egypt” Powers

Brayla Stone

Merci Mack

Shaki Peters

Bree Black

Summer Taylor

Marilyn Cazares

Dior H Ova

Queasha D Hardy

Aja Raquell Rhone-Spears

Lea Rayshon Daye

Kee Sam

Aerrion Burnett

Mia Green

Michelle Michellyn Ramos Vargas

Felycya Harris

Brooklyn Deshuna 

Sara Blackwood

Angel Unique

Yunieski Carey Herrera

A majority of reported deaths showcase that Black trans women and trans women of color face a greater threat of encountering violence. Not only will TGNC community members face potential violence from transphobic attacks, but BIPOC community members will endure violent attacks led by racist motives as well. In ensure the safety of trans folks, it is not only up to cishet allies to speak out vocally against anti-trans rhetoric, such as the many anti-trans state legislation that moved through or attempt to this past year, but also up to white queer folks to recognize and uplift TGNC folks, particularly Black, Brown, and TGNC folks of color. 

In attempt of generating an intersectional approach of feminism, white cis-folks must unlearn their binarist and heteronormative perspective of gender in order to gain an understanding and acceptance of trans and gender-non-conforming folks. That is to say, this article is not calling for cishet and white queer people to become the “saviors” of TGNC folks. This article is addressing how folks who observe today can become better allies and serve the TGNC community in decreasing the amount of violence and transphobia trans and gender non-conforming folks endure from day to day interaction to how they are governed. 

The list below displays a few ways to top violence against trans people, written by Imara Jones, creator of TransLash Media (IG: @Imara_Jones_):

Stop Transphobic and Anti-Trans talk when you hear it

Calling out blatant instances of bigotry and transphobia along with recognizing and calling out microaggressions 

Call your school board and demand that they protect Trans kids in schools

Call you local school board and ask what practices they have in place to protect trans students

Hire Trans People and advocate for us in the workplace

Encourage your employer to not only hire trans people but also require training for all employees to foster a respectful trans-inclusive space. 

Support your local Trans Organizations

Find trans-led organizations and organizations helping Trans folks in your community. Make a donation, volunteer your time, and mobilize your personal network to help support as well. 

Post one positive, pro-Trans message on social media each week

Follow more Trans folks on social media and diversify your media consumption. Share their content.

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