Statement Commemorating Transgender Day of Remembrance and Denouncing Violence Against the LGBTQ+ Community
November 21, 2022 – Yesterday, November 20, marked the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR), which was established 23 years ago by transgender advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith as a vigil honoring the memory of Rita Hester, a transgender woman whose 1998 murder remains unsolved. TDOR is now commemorated throughout the country to mourn and honor transgender people taken from us by acts of violence.
On the eve of this year’s TDOR, a gunman descended upon an LGBTQ+ bar called “Club Q” in Colorado Springs, murdering five and injuring 25 club patrons. Among the dead were a 28-year-old transgender man named Daniel Aston and a 40-year-old transgender woman named Kelly Loving, both of whom considered Club Q a site of safety and liberation in the conservative city of Colorado Springs. This mass shooting marks the deadliest attack on LGBTQ+ people since the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting in Florida claimed 49 lives.
The violent attack on Club Q comes amidst a wave of nationwide efforts to restrict access to gender-affirming healthcare. According to the UCLA School of Law, as of March 2022, 15 states have restricted access to gender-affirming care or are currently considering laws that would do so. In some states, both healthcare providers and families could face penalties for attempting to access gender-affirming care for minors. Over the past year, the Trevor Project reported that over 50% of transgender people considered suicide and 22% of transgender boys, 19% of nonbinary youth, and 12% of transgender girls attempted suicide. Rates of suicide attempts were generally higher among transgender youth of color.
In 2022, the National Center for Transgender Equality released a report finding that at least 47 transgender people were killed in the past year. According to the report, 85% of those lost were transgender women – and 70% of those transgender women were Black.
Acts of violence and discrimination against the transgender community are white supremacist at their core, as they disproportionately harm Black transgender girls and women. These acts are part of the same system of power our clients are forced to work within each day in order to survive.
It is not enough to offer thoughts and prayers as members of the transgender community are targeted and attacked, whether by bigoted words, discriminatory laws, or deadly assaults. We encourage you to support the following list of organizations serving transgender people, and to share resources for allies.
In the words of Gwendolyn Ann Smith, “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.”
Organizations Serving Transgender People:
- G.L.I.T.S. NYC
- The Ali Forney Center
- Trans Lifeline
- Trans Law Center
- Sylvia Rivera Law Project
- Callen-Lorde Community Health Center
- National Center for Transgender Equality
- Trans Women of Color Collective
- Anti-Violence Project
Resources for Allies:
- Tips for Allies of Transgender People
- Supporting the Transgender People in Your Life: A Guide to Being a Good Ally