The Importance of the Transgender Day Of Rememberance
by Cheryl Courtney-Evans
posted Nov. 7, 2011
It’s November again, and to all those who have any knowledge of the transgender community and its advocacy, it’s time once again for the Transgender Day Of Rememberance (TDOR).
TDOR is a day to memorialize all transgender individuals who have been killed due to transphobia, or the hatred/fear of transgender and gender non-conforming people, and serves to bring attention to the contiued violence perpetrated against members of the transgender community.
Started in 1998, by Gwendolyn Ann Smith, a transgender graphics designer, columnist and activist, to memorialize the murder of Rita Hester, in Allston, MA., it has grown internationally to an annual event in major cities all over the world. It is typically marked by the reading of the names of those who have been killed in the course of the previous year, and may include candlelight vigils, marches, art shows, food drives and film screenings, among other things; in some cities being a culmination of a “Transgender Awareness Week”.
TDOR is important in the community at large, because it serves as a reminder that the people who have been killed are, first and foremost, HUMAN BEINGS. It spotlights the fact that they died for the simple fact of being “different”, and are just as lamentable as the youth who are bullied to the point of suicide. Each name that is read at a TDOR service and candlelight vigil represents someone’s daughter, son, niece, nephew, or significant other. These people lived their lives only trying to do it as best they could, just like everyone else. They may not have been perfect, but then again, NONE of us are. TDOR is important in the LBGT community because although this community has made some strides in civil rights, it reminds the rest of that acronym that the “T” is still vulnerable and in need of the alliance of it’s brothers and sisters.
In most cities (as is the case in my city of Atlanta, GA.) TDOR is held on November 20. Its occurrence is generally carried in the local LGBT publications, so I urge everyone to keep track this month and make it your business to attend the TDOR event(s) nearest you. Your support would be greatly appreciated and welcomed.