Trans Day of Remembrance 2023

trans flag

This year’s Trans Day of Remembrance (TDOR) falls on the 20th of November and pays tribute to transgender people who have lost their lives in acts of anti-transgender violence.

Founded by transgender advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith in 1999, it started as a vigil to honour the memory of Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was killed in 1998. The vigil remembers all the transgender people lost to anti-transgender violence since Rita’s death and grew into annual Transgender Day of Remembrance.

This Transgender Day of Remembrance, we encourage you to reflect and learn more about members of the transgender community and the violence they face. Here are some trans figures whose stories should be shared:

  • Rita Hester

A Boston based African-American transgender woman, Rita Hester’s death sparked outrage within the LGBTQ+ community.

An outgoing and friendly individual, Rita was unapologetically herself even as a young child. She moved from her hometown, Hartford, to the more accepting Boston where she became a fixture in both queer and straight clubs. From attending rock shows to dancing and performing in them, to travelling and performing, Rita lived freely and enjoyed cooking and talking with her friend Brenda Wynne.

Rita wasn’t an activist and she wasn’t the only trans person murdered in 1998, but the communal love the people of Boston had for Rita was evident. It propelled many to protest and fight for justice after her death.

More about Rita Hester and what it means to remember trans lives can be found on them.

  • Marsha P. Johnson

An African American transgender woman and renowned revolutionary LGBTQ+ rights activist, the acts of Marsha P. Johnson should not be forgotten.

As well as being recognized as an instigator in the Stonewall riots of 1969, Marsha established the Street Transvestite (now Transgender) Action Revolutionaries (STAR) with the goal of helping trans youths experiencing homelessness in New York City.

Not only known for their unique style, Marsha’s resilience, strength and ability to speak out against injustice was admired by the LGBTQ+ community.

Interested in knowing more about Marsha, check out this page on Biography.

  • Sylvia Rivera

An iconic Latin-America drag queen and LGBT+ activist, Sylvia Rivera co-founded STAR (Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries) and is believed to have been present during the Stonewall Riots of 1969.

Sylvia fought for equal LGBT rights as she challenged gay rights leaders that tried to cut out trans people and drag queens in gay rights legislation and fought for inclusion for people across the gender spectrum within LGBT+ organisations and events.

At the age of 17, it’s believed that Sylvia took part in the Stonewall Riots by throwing the second cocktail in protest to a police raid of Stonewall Inn. After the riots, Rivera co-founded the Gay Liberation Front to further push the gay liberation movement.

More information on Sylvia Rivera can be found on Biography.

To participate in Trans Day of Remembrance you can attend a flag raising event on Monday 20th November, 12:10-13:00 at the Whiteknights campus flagpole (between Whiteknights house & Edith Morley)

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