Transgender Day of Remembrance also known as TDOR is a memorial day for transgender people who’ve been killed by the means of transgender hatred or prejudice held every November.
Albeit not all victims have identified to be trans-oriented, they have been killed based on bigots’ biases against transgender individuals.
If you want to see the list of the people who have died from this unnecessary bloodshed, feel free to visit http://www.transgenderdor.org. This list doesn’t include the victims who have not been reported to the media or are known in the transgender community.
One of the building blocks of this commemoration was the death of Rita Hester. Her death was kicked off through the “Remembering Our Dead” web project and a candlelight vigil in San Francisco in 1999. Hester’s murder has yet to be solved amongst many of anti-transgender murder cases that are still pending in court.
Why do people honor this day?
TDOR or Transgender Day of Remembrance is honored to raise the public’s awareness of crimes that are done against transgender people whose lives were lost to anti-transgender violence. Its purpose is also to mourn and honor the lost lives of trans people who have been forgotten.
In this vigil, people express their respect and love in the norm of national indifference and hatred towards trans people. It also provide trans individuals and allies a platform to stand in a vigil to memorialize the victims of anti-transgender violence.
One of the best ways to educate people about transgender acceptance is by putting the Transgender Day of Remembrance in schools.
Apart from the heinous crimes, teachers and administrators would also be able to eradicate this ignorance that results to hate crimes by educating the students about other issues that encompass the transgender community.
How it’s honored?
TDOR is a commemoration and not a celebration. People who honor the transgender day of remembrance often do the following things below:
- visual representation of the number of deaths (i.e the flowers or body outline chalkings)
- discussion forums amongst politicians, school officials, local activists, teach-ins, or speaker bureaus
- readings of poetry and spoken word art
- candlelight vigils or marches
- displays of art and photography related to anti-transgender hate crimes ;
- movie screenings (such as “Boys Don’t Cry”)
- trans 101 trainings for members or any interested people
The Principles of the Transgender Day of Remembrance
In order to be guided properly about the principles of the Transgender Day of Remembrance, organizers have developed guiding principles that you may use to help frame your message for the day.
- We can make a difference by being visible, speaking out, educating and organizing around anti-transgender violence
- Transgender lives are affirmed as valuable
- All who die due to anti-transgender violence are to be remembered
- It’s up to us to remember them, since their killers, law enforcement, and media often seek to erase their existence
- “Those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it.”
How you can participate in the Transgender Day of Remembrance
If you don’t want to organize something for the day and you just want to be part of the commemoration, you can simply do so by attending a vigil on November 20 to honor the lives of the trans individuals who have died from heinous hate crimes.
These vigils/marches are usually organized by local transgender activists and advocates in your area. They’re usually held at:
- places of worship
- community centers
- and other venues
It typically involves a reading of the list of victims’ names who have lost their lives through hate crime of the corresponding year.
Writing Stories and Adding Resources
If you are interested in writing stores about trans individuals who have been victimized by hate crimes, or to add resources for writing about the violence affecting transgender people, especially trans women of color, you can do so by visiting the GLAAD’s TDOR list below.
Resources and Orgs
- Anti-Violence Project
- International Transgender Day of Remembrance
- National Center for Transgender Equality
- Sylvia Rivera Law Project
- Trans Women of Color Collective
- Transgender Europe’s Trans Murder Monitoring Project
- Transgender Law Center
- TransJustice at the Audre Lorde Project
Information for media:
- GLAAD’s Resource Kit for Journalists Covering TDOR
- GLAAD’s Media Reference Guide
- GLAAD’s Doubly Victimized: Reporting on Transgender Victims of Crime
- GLAAD’s More Than a Number – Shifting the Media Narrative on Transgender Homicides
- Mic’s Unerased: Counting Transgender Lives
Reports on violence and discrimination:
- Human Rights Campaign’s Violence Against the Transgender Community
- National Center for Transgender Equality’s Discrimination Survey
- Learn more about transgender people on GLAAD’s resource page
Planning a Transgender Day of Remembrance Commemoration
Should you feel the need to organise the day in your school or area as it’s not yet celebrated where you study or live, feel free to follow the tips below.
Create a Plan
Your General Services Administration (GSA) must plan how the approach of the project would be and how you want the day to play out.
Make a timeline
Once the decision of what to do is final, you must set a plausible timeline in order for everyone to know their purpose and what must be done. Ensure to include who’ll be in charge of each item and its deadline.
Get the buzz going
You must invite as many people as possible in order for the event to be a success. You could do this by sending out:
- advertisements in school newspapers
- flyers and posters in your town
- word of mouth
- and social media
Collaborate with other school clubs. There may be a necessity for education on how violence may affect various groups, as well as how anti-transgender violence greatly affects low-income youth of color. It’s of paramount importance for people to know how hate crimes like these can affect all communities.
Inform your local media about your plans in honoring the Transgender Day of Remembrance. Tell them about the events in your school, its history, and some quotes from your GSA’s members as to why you’re coming up with this event. Also, add a phone number so the reporter may follow up for interviews.
Have administrators, teachers, and staff involved
Know if they are interested in participating as this will help a lot in terms of furthering the education about these anti-transgender crimes.
Inform the principal
Have a meeting with your school’s principal and pitch your plans for the day.
Post the date of the TDOR in your school or community’s bulletin. Have everyone involved explain the project to people they know.
Have people help you with this event. Be sure to have enough to set up, monitor, and clean up the venue.
You must also:
- give resources,
- create visual displays,
- create a safe space,
- and have an easily accessible setting
for the event.
Now that the event is done, you must continue educating the people who have attended the event about the issues involving transgender people. Create an e-mail list or ask them to follow a social media page that you have created for the event.
You can also provide them with handbooks that you’ve written in relation to issues and crimes that relate to trans individuals and the TDOR.
Evaluate your event and plan for the next year. The goal is to get more people involved year after year until the stigma on trans people is finally eradicated.