Transgender Day of Remembrance

November 20th is the Transgender Day of Remembrance, an annual observance that honours the memory of the transgender people whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence.

Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) was started in 1999 by transgender advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith as a vigil to honour the memory of Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was killed in 1998. The vigil commemorated all the transgender people lost to violence since Rita Hester’s death, and began an important tradition that has become the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance.

“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 Pulse Project, surveyed 433 transgender Ontarians. Some of their findings are as follows:

  • 20% had been physically or sexually assaulted for being trans.
  • 67% worried they would die young
  • 83% of trans people who have transitioned fully or part time avoid public spaces or situations because they fear harassment, being perceived or outed as “trans”
  • 21% of Trans Ontarians avoided the emergency department of hospitals when they needed it, specifically due to being trans.
  • 13% had been fired for being trans
  • 24% reported having been harassed by police leading to low rates of reporting crimes

Trans people experience extremely high levels of depression and suicide. More than half of trans people in Ontario have levels of depressive symptoms consistent with clinical depression, while 43% had a history of attempting suicide, including 10% within the past year.
All of these stats demonstrate the potential that discrimination has for life and death consequences for trans people.

We recognize the day as a memorial for those who have been subject to violence and have been murdered. We remember those lives lost to violence as well as expounding to the all too frequent harassment and discrimination on transgender individuals that experience it on a regular basis.

If you would like to talk about any of these things, feel free to reach out to:

Unifor Local 199 LGBTQ Committee Ashley Kofsky Lindsay Gillis

Employment Equity Rep Jessica McCourt 905-641-6559

Below are a few Transgender Day of Remembrance Events as well as more information

Out Niagara

Pflag Niagara Chapter

Trans Pulse Project Trans Pulse Project

Event in Niagara Falls

Trans/Gender Questioning Youth Group
November 19 @ 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm
The Trans/Gender Questioning Youth Group is a social support group for gender divers youth aged 14-19 years.
Every 3rd Tuesday of the month (except July and August) 4:00 – 5:30pm

Unifor Statement on the Trans Day of Remembrance