Started in 1999 by transgender advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith, Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoR) was set up to honor the memory of Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was killed in 1998. The vigil commemorated all transgender people lost to violence since Rita's death.
"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
The trans community continues to be marginalized with the most recent threat coming from the Trump administration's proposal to define gender in a way that would, "essentially eradicate federal recognition of the 1.4 million American who recognize themselves as a gender other than the one they were assigned at birth."
Transgender and gender nonconforming people of color, particularly black trans women, remain the most impacted by harmful anti-transgender policies. According to the National LGBTQ Task Force, "black transgender people had an extremely high unemployment rate at 26 percent, two times the rate of the overall transgender sample and four times the rate of the general population." In cities across the country, black transgender women have been victims of homicides with at least five killings in Jacksonville, Florida, all within the month of September.
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