Today marks this year's Transgender Day of Remembrance, an annual observance on November 20 that honors the memory of those whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence, and to celebrate and support those who survive.
At least 24 transgender people were murdered in 2016 in the United States, according to media reports. In 2015, there were 22 reported anti-transgender killings. As is typically the case, the majority of those deaths were transgender women of color.
The Human Rights Campaign issued a statement regarding TDOR which read in part:
Now in its 18th year, TDOR is a time for the transgender community and allies to mourn those who have been victims of anti-trans violence, and to recommit to ensuring that their lives - and deaths - are not forgotten. TDOR allows us to call attention to the continued violence and injustice transgender people face every day.
In 2015, HRC reported the murders of at least 21 transgender people in the United States, more than any previous year on record. A disproportionate number of these victims were transgender women of color. That alarming trend has continued in 2016. HRC and the Trans People of Color Coalition (TPOCC) just released A Matter of Life and Death: Fatal Violence Against Transgender People in America 2016, a new, heartbreaking report documenting the often deadly violence faced by the transgender community and exploring the factors that fuel these tragic attacks.
“TDOR is about mourning those who have been taken from us through violence, transphobia and hatred, and it is a way of recognizing the loss that those lives represent to our community,” said Nicole Cozier, HRC Director of Diversity & Inclusion.
“TDOR empowers HRC’s steering committees, members and other activists on the ground to support members of the transgender community in their regions. It’s about mobilizing our communities to reach out and say, ‘We’re here and we stand with you.’” Cozier said.
The U.S. State Department issued this statement from Secretary of State John Kerry in observance of the solemn day:
On Transgender Day of Remembrance, the United States solemnly honors the memory of the many transgender individuals who lost their lives to senseless acts of violence.
Transgender persons around the world are targeted by rising levels of violence fueled by hatred and bigotry. This is a global challenge and we all must do more to protect transgender persons on the basis of equality and dignity.
In the United States, our Constitution enshrines freedoms of peaceful assembly, speech and association, and it affirms that everyone has equal protection under the law. Around the world human rights and fundamental freedoms are recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that every person is born free and equal in dignity and rights. Every person includes transgender women, transgender men, and other individuals who face marginalization on account of their gender expression or gender identity.
Today we stand in solidarity with the incredible resilience and leadership of the transgender community in responding to stigma and marginalization. Transgender persons deepen our diversity, broaden our communities, and strengthen the values we cherish. When all persons reach their full human potential, free from fear, intimidation, and violence, nations become more just, secure and prosperous.
The United States remains committed to advance the human rights of all persons, including transgender persons. On this Transgender Day of Remembrance, we reaffirm equality for all as part of our core constitutional principles and as a human rights priority of U.S. diplomacy.
Sadly, I doubt we'll see anything like these messages of support from our new administration next year.