Transgender Day of Remembrance 2023

Remember the dead, fight like hell for the living.

Jay Barber
24th November 2023
Image credit: Instagram @betransnb
Every year on November 20th, LGBTQ+ communities and their allies come together to mark Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR).

TW: discussions of transphobic violence.

Originating in 1999, the first TDOR was held as a vigil for Rita Hester, a Black transgender woman who was murdered in 1998. At this vigil, organiser and advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith commemorated all the lives lost to transphobic violence since Hester’s murder, and thus began the important tradition of TDOR.

A vigil was held in Newcastle, organised by Be: Trans NB Support and supported by other local activist groups like LGBT+ NSG, North East Against Racism, Pride Action North, amongst others. The service was empowering as it was heart-breaking, with speeches delivered by members of the community, calling for solidarity in the fight against transphobia.

Once speeches had concluded, organisers recognised the 320 lives lost to transphobic violence this year alone. The Trans Murder Monitoring report provides an annual list of the lives lost and highlights significant patterns contributing to transphobic violence: 94% of those killed were trans women or trans feminine people, almost half were sex workers, 80% were non-white, and almost three-quarters of murders were committed in Latin America and the Caribbean.

organisers recognised the 320 lives to transphobic violence this year alone

The vigil in Newcastle then concluded with a speech from Rev. Kai Millar of Northern Lights MCC, calling for support and love amongst the community, and a performance from trans singer-songwriter, Jade Mia Broadhead.

When asked about the importance of TDOR, a representative from LGBT+ NSG said the following:

“The act of radical solidarity means coming together even in mourning because we create the spaces we can be authentically us. We have always existed, and we will always exist.”

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