Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) is an international and annual observance held on November 20 to honor those who have lost their lives violently due to anti-transgender hate or prejudice. TDOR also serves to raise awareness of hate crimes against transgender people.
We live in times more sensitive than ever to hate-based crimes. Yet, the deaths of those due to transgender-based hate are largely ignored. In the United States, more than one transgender person is murdered each month for doing nothing other than being themselves. A year ago today, 23 trans lives have been lost with the majority of victims being transgender women of color.
Mississippi is home to more than 15,000 transgender citizens, all of whom are subject to discrimination and violence due to lack of protections. When the needs of vulnerable populations are not included in policymaking, adequate resources are not allotted to address them. And when the government excludes sexual orientation and gender identity in policy, it could be life-threatening.
TDOR is an opportunity for transgender people and allies alike to stand up and speak out for people like Diamond Stephens, a black transgender woman who was shot to death on June 18 in Meridian, Mississippi. Her life mattered. The hospitality state can do much better. We must expand our knowledge and understanding. We must express love and respect for our people in the face of indifference and hatred, so that we don’t lose another life due to ignorance and fear. There is much work to be done.
Let’s not just remember those we’ve lost. Let’s put that remembrance into action. It’s time to join hands in uplifting these stories, faces, and voices. Together, we can shift the narrative and ensure that the transgender community is not feared, harmed, or forgotten.