This Saturday, November 20, will mark the 23rd annual Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR). Each year, LGBTQIA+ people and their allies everywhere gather to remember and honor the far too many lives taken by transphobic violence. This worldwide day of mourning and resistance has its roots here in Boston, created in response to the senseless and still unsolved 1998 murder of Rita Hester, a trans woman of color and beloved community member.
The terrible fact is that incidents of violence against trans and gender diverse people have only increased since the first Transgender Day of Remembrance. The Human Rights Campaign’s recent paper, “An Epidemic of Violence: Fatal Violence Against Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming People in the United States in 2021,” reports that 2021 was the deadliest year on record for the transgender community, with the murders of at least 46 transgender and gender non-conforming people in the U.S. alone. Locally, we lost Jahaira Dealto, a transgender activist and beloved member of the local ballroom community.
Transgender women of color are disproportionately the victims of violent bigots. According to the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey, nearly half (47%) of all Black transgender respondents reported being discriminated against, verbally harassed, and/or physically attacked. Black transgender women (14%) were more likely to experience physical violence, compared to Black non-binary people (8%) and transgender men (7%).
Discrimination begets hate, which begets violence, and the past year has seen a storm of discriminatory legislation passed and proposed across the country that target trans people – especially trans youth. Lawmakers from 33 states have filed 98 bills so far that seek to restrict of the ability of transgender and gender diverse young people to access health care, school facilities, and sports. A new policy brief released by The Fenway Institute outlines how incredibly harmful this is for already vulnerable youth – whether or not the bills become law.
To mark Transgender Awareness Month, Fenway Health has created a series of infographics with eye-opening statistics about the experiences of transgender and gender diverse people. Please share these widely to spread knowledge and encourage action in support of our trans community. We also have two new episodes of our Pride in Our Health podcast featuring stories about the history of Fenway’s Trans Health Program and a look at the current state of health care access for trans folks.
We encourage everyone to take time this weekend to observe the Transgender Day of Remembrance and recommit to ending bigotry against trans and gender diverse people everywhere. For those looking to gather in local community, the annual Cape Cod TDOR will be held virtually on Saturday, November 20 at 6:30 PM. Guest speakers including River Pehrson, Naomi Wright, and Violeta K. Haralampieva, Staff Attorney at PAIR PROJECT. Special performances will include El, Charlie Clark, and O’The Fool. Please RSVP here.
Trans Resistance is also hosting a Transgender Day of Remembrance community gathering Saturday at Simmons University. As their Facebook page describes, “the event will include a live stream, performances, speeches, and a slideshow in remembrance of loved ones. We will specifically honor and acknowledge Jahaira DeAlto, of blessed memory.”
Now and always, Fenway Health is proud to stand with the trans community and work together to create a safer, healthier, and more affirming world.