Each November 20th, the Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) offers a solemn moment to honor and remember the transgender and gender non-conforming individuals who lost their lives to violence. As we approach the end of 2023, it’s vital to remember those we’ve lost, recognize the ongoing struggle for trans rights and safety, and reaffirm our commitment to fight against the violence and bigotry facing the trans community.
The Statistics: A Harrowing Reality
In 2023, the violence against transgender people, particularly trans women of color, remained alarmingly high. According to the Human Rights Campaign, this year marked one of the deadliest years on record for trans individuals in the United States, with at least 25 transgender and gender non-conforming people becoming victims of fatal violence so far in 2023, including gun and interpersonal violence. Their research also shows that:
- A staggering 88% of the victims were people of color, highlighting the intersectionality of racism and transphobia.
- Over half, 52%, were Black transgender women, underscoring a particularly vulnerable subgroup within the community.
- 72% of these killings were gun-related, pointing to a broader issue of gun violence.
- 47% of victims with a known assailant were killed by someone close to them, such as a romantic or sexual partner.
- In nearly half of these cases, the victims were misgendered or deadnamed by authorities or the press, compounding the tragedy of their deaths.
Internationally, the situation is equally dire, with 320 trans people murdered worldwide between October 2022 and September 2023. The majority of victims were trans women or trans-feminine people (94%); trans people affected by racism (80%, a 15% increase from last year), and young (77% of those killed were between 19 and 40 years old). Geographically, almost three-quarters (73%) of these incidents occurred in Latin America and the Caribbean, with Brazil alone accounting for nearly one-third (31%).
The Lives Behind the Numbers
This year, like every year, the list of names read aloud during TDOR ceremonies is heartbreakingly long. Each name echoes an unfinished story, a life taken too soon. These individuals, part of our vibrant community, faced extreme prejudice simply for embracing their true selves. In remembering them, we not only mourn their loss but also confront the harsh reality of transphobia that continues to pervade societies worldwide.
In 2023, the stories of individuals like London Price, a 26-year-old Black trans woman from Miami-Dade County; Lisa Love, a 35-year-old Black trans woman; and A’nee Johnson, a 30-year-old Black transwoman from Washington D.C., resonate deeply. Each brought joy, light, and uniqueness to the world, yet their lives were tragically cut short. Their memories compel us to reflect on the urgent need for change and the importance of continuing to fight against anti-trans violence.
Reflecting on the Impact
These stories, along with others lost this year, paint a stark picture of the ongoing violence faced by the trans community. They remind us of the work that remains to be done in fostering a world where all can live safely and authentically. Gwendolyn Ann Smith, the founder of TDOR, poignantly stated, “Transgender Day of Remembrance seeks to highlight the losses we face due to anti-transgender bigotry and violence… it is vitally important that those we lose are remembered, and that we continue to fight for justice.”
The Ongoing Battle for Justice and Equality
As we honor the memory of those lost, we also recognize the need for continued advocacy and action. The fight against anti-trans violence and bigotry is far from over. It demands our collective effort to ensure that the rights and dignity of trans and gender non-conforming people are upheld. Awareness alone is not enough. Advocacy and actionable measures are crucial in combating this violence and fostering a world where trans and gender non-conforming people can live without fear.
Moving Forward: Hope, Resilience, and Action
As we mark TDOR in 2023, we’re reminded of the trans community’s incredible resilience and courage in the face of adversity. Their ongoing struggle for recognition, rights, and justice shines as a beacon of hope, guiding us toward a future of authenticity and safety for all.
This Transgender Day of Remembrance, we recommit to combating violence and discrimination. We honor the memory of those we’ve lost by advocating for a world that embraces diversity and inclusivity, one where future remembrances like this are no longer necessary. Let’s not just remember—let’s take action to forge a world where everyone is free to live without fear