Transgender Day of Remembrance
November 19, 2021
On November 20th we observe Transgender Day of Remembrance to honor the memory of transgender individuals whose lives were taken in acts of violence.
This day originated in 1999 by Gwendolyn Ann Smith, a transgender advocate, to honor the memory of Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was killed in Boston, Massachusetts. Over the past 20+ years, this day has become one to honor and commemorate all the transgender individuals who lost their lives to violence.
While there has been an increase in awareness and in legislation that help prosecute those who participate in these violent acts, there is still work to be done as people continue to be victimized for just being who they are. According to the Human Rights Campaign, in 2021 there have been at least 45 transgender or non-gender conforming individuals who have died by violence. Each case differs, however data shows that fatalities impact transgender women of color, in particular Black women. These crimes occur throughout the country and world. Closer to home, the city of Philadelphia recently described these types of crimes as an epidemic of violence against transgender citizens.
The Human Rights Campaign report, “Dismantling a Culture of Violence,” explains how a culture of violence exists because of stigma, denial of opportunity, and other increased risk factors and leads to an unsafe environment and violent culture. This report also provides us with ways to promote inclusivity and create safety for transgender and non-gender confirming people. It is important that we do not forget these individuals, and that we continue to work towards justice and equality.
At the College of Nursing and Health Professions, we aim to make our communities more inclusive and continue to raise awareness of the issues transgender and non-gender confirming individuals face, especially in healthcare, each day. On November 19th Drexel will honor our non-binary and transgender communities by raising Drexel Transgender flags on all three campuses. This day will be used to mourn the loss of life. It will also demonstrate our commitment and the fight towards a better existence for all members of these communities. In addition, all are encouraged to visit Paul Peck Alumni Center at 9:00 a.m. for remarks, words of wisdom, and to reflect on readings highlighting victims of anti-transgender violence in the past year.
Written by Kathryn (Katie) Farrell, MSN, RN, assistant clinical professor, Graduate Nursing, and member of the Board of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion