Transgender Day of Remembrance

Nov. 20 is Transgender Day of Remembrance

Transgender Day of Remembrance is an opportunity for communities to come together and remember transgender people, gender-variant individuals, and those perceived to be transgender who have been murdered because of hate. Learn more.


Transgender Day of Remembrance is held in November to honor Rita Hester, whose murder on November 28, 1998, launched the “Remembering Our Dead” web project and a San Francisco vigil the following year. The event provides a forum for transgender communities and allies to raise awareness of the threat of violence faced by gender variant people and the persistence of prejudice felt by the transgender community. Communities organize events and activities including town hall style "teach-ins," photography and poetry exhibits and candlelit vigils. These activities make anti-transgender violence visible to stakeholders like police, the media and elected officials.

The day was founded in 1999 by transgender advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith as a vigil to honor the memory of Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was murdered in Allston, Massachusetts, in 1998. Hester's murder, like many other anti-transgender killings, has yet to be solved.

Smith's initial vigil was intended to commemorate all transgender people lost to violence and to draw attention to the ongoing crisis of anti-transgender violence. The event quickly grew from a local observance to an international one, with events now held in various countries across the globe. These vigils are typically marked by the reading of the names of those lost in the past year, along with other forms of remembrance such as moments of silence, marches, and educational events to raise awareness about the issues faced by the transgender community.

TDOR serves several important purposes. It memorializes those who have been murdered as a result of transphobia, it raises public awareness of hate crimes against transgender people, it provides a space for grieving and reflection for the transgender community, and it affirms the need for continued advocacy to fight discrimination and violence.

Over the years, TDOR has become a focal point for the transgender community and its allies to unite and demand justice, visibility, and equality. The day highlights the disproportionate impact of violence on transgender individuals, particularly transgender women of color, who are at an increased risk of violence and discrimination.

While the Transgender Day of Remembrance is a somber occasion, it also serves as a call to action, urging society to acknowledge and address the systemic issues that contribute to violence against transgender people. It emphasizes the importance of support, acceptance, and the need for comprehensive protections for transgender individuals in all areas of life.


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