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:
Neulisa Luciano Ruiz
Yampi Mendez Arocho
Serena Angelique Velazquez Ramos
Layla Pelaez Sanchez
Penelope Diaz Ramirez
Helle Jae O’Regan
Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells
Brian “Egypt” Powers
Dior H Ova
Queasha D Hardy
Aja Raquell Rhone-Spears
Lea Rayshon Daye
Michelle Michellyn Ramos Vargas
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.
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.