This November 20th, transgender individuals and their loved ones will be celebrating Transgender Day of Remembrance, or TDOR. Here is how you can observe.
On November 20th, transgender individuals and their loved ones and supporters will be celebrating Transgender Day of Remembrance, or TDOR. This is an international day of observance for all transgender men and women who have been murdered in the past year. This observance is meant to draw attention to a section of society that has been derided and marginalized: transgender and gender non-conforming persons around the world.
This day was started in response to a particularly heinous crime that occurred in Boston in 1998. Rita Hester, a transgender woman who worked as a prostitute and musician, was found dead in her apartment, having been stabbed over 20 times. The crime has never been solved.
This occurred shortly after the Matthew Shepard murder in Wyoming, but did not receive the amount of media attention as that case. As a way to increase the attention on crimes against transgender people, a candlelight vigil was organized in San Francisco by Gwendolyn Ann Smith in 1999. Since then, the movement to increase awareness of transgender issues has grown worldwide, shining a light on the horrific crimes that are perpetrated on innocent people.
During TDOR, a list of names of those that have been murdered in the past year is read aloud at events around the world. This list is compiled by the Trans Murder Monitoring Project. This includes the names and details of their death, oftentimes gruesome in nature, illustrating the hatred and fear around transgender individuals. These vigils are also meant to show solidarity and strength against such fear and hatred.
Show your support for transgender and LGBTQ youth during this observance day in several ways.
Utilize and share resources. Several resources are available online that allow you to observe and participate in Transgender Day of Remembrance.
“Spirit Day” Resource Guide will help you engage the participation of your friends, colleagues, local media and public officials.
Understanding Issues Facing Transgender Americans is a publication that addresses poverty rate, harassment, health rates, and isolation from the rest of society.
“Where We Are on TV” Report is a detailed breakdown of the number and frequency of transgender characters and issues that appear in major media (TV, film, etc.).
The resource list from GLAAD includes links to legal, mental health, military, youth, and aging-related resources.
Find an event in your area. Using the International TDOR website, locate a transgender remembrance event near you.
Spread the good word. Follow the happenings around the world on Transgender Day of Remembrance by following on social media. Use the hashtag #TDOR to find the latest news and celebrations.
These simple actions help you get educated on the challenges of being a marginalized individual in society, and how to extend empathy towards those that exist on the fringe. Innocent victims, regardless of their background, should not suffer such horrible endings. By shining a light this one day of the year, awareness beyond this occasion can be increased.