President Obama’s White House today honored the 14th annual Transgender Day of Remembrance by meeting with transgender community advocates. Gautam Raghavan, an Associate Director in the White House Office of Public Engagement explains:
Earlier today, a group of transgender community advocates met with White House staff to mark Transgender Day of Remembrance and discuss ways in which we can work together to ensure dignity, equality, and justice for all people.
Throughout America and around the world, many transgender people face bullying, harassment, discrimination, and violence. Far too often, we hear shocking and tragic stories about transgender people who have been assaulted and even killed because of their gender identity or expression. The Obama Administration is committed to preventing violence against all people, including all members of the LGBT community, and this meeting was an important opportunity to explore ways to make our communities and neighborhoods safer.
At the meeting, community leaders highlighted a range of issues and concerns of importance to transgender people. In the months and years ahead, we look forward to working to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all transgender people.
As we mark Transgender Day of Remembrance and reflect upon the lives that have been lost to violence and injustice, let us all recommit ourselves to ensuring dignity, equality, and justice for all people.
Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis today issued the following statement regarding the Transgender Day of Remembrance, memorializing transgender Americans who have lost their lives as a result of violence:
“The Transgender Day of Remembrance will be commemorated in cities and countries around the world today, reflecting on those who have died as a result of fear, hate and transphobia.
“I stand proudly today — and every day — as an ally to the transgender community and to every person and family impacted by anti-transgender bullying and violence. Transgender people are part of the diversity that America celebrates today and they, like every American, deserve to live without fear of prejudice or violence.
“What Gwendolyn Ann Smith began as an online project in 1998 to memorialize Rita Hester’s murder has today evolved to include hundreds of vigils and events in workplaces, churches and community centers around the world. I hope that this year’s commemoration will serve as an opportunity to shine a brighter light on both progress made and the challenges ahead.”
GLAAD notes that the “Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) is an annual observance on November 20 that honors the memory of those whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence.”
The Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) was started by transgender advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith as a vigil to honor the memory of Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was killed in 1998. The vigil commemorated all the transgender people lost to violence that year and began an important memorial that has become the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance.
“The Transgender Day of Remembrance seeks to highlight the losses we face due to anti-transgender bigotry and violence. I am no stranger to the need to fight for our rights, and the right to simply exist is first and foremost. With so many seeking to erase transgender people — sometimes in the most brutal ways possible — it is vitally important that those we lose are remembered, and that we continue to fight for justice.”
- Transgender Day of Remembrance founder Gwendolyn Ann Smith.
GLAAD also notes:
The 2011 Hate Violence Report from the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Projects shows anti-LGBT hate crime murders increased 11% from 2010, in which 27 murders occurred, to 2011, in which 30 murders occurred. Of the victims murdered, 87% were people of color, and 40% were transgender women. Transgender people of color were also 28% more likely to experience physical violence compared to people who were not transgender people of color. Findings from the ‘Injustice at Every Turn’ report conducted by the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force showed alarming rates of violence and harassment expreienced by the more than 6,000 transgender repondents across a variety of contexts, including educational settings, at work, in interactions with police and with family members, at homeless shelters, accessing public accommodations, and in jails and prisons. According to the International Transgender Day of Remembrance website, there have been 8 people murdered out of anti-transgender bias during 2011 in the U.S. As murders of transgender people often go unreported, and the identity of transgender murder victims is often misreported, there is no way to know accurate numbers.
Please visit GLAAD’s Transgender Day of Remembrance page for more information and ways you can get involved. You can also visit GLAAD on Facebook.
You can also learn more via Twitter, hashtag #TDOR.
Image via GLAAD
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