Transgender Day of Remembrance

November 20, 2017

Transgender Day of Remembrance

November 20th marks a day for the trans community to remember those who have lost their lives by simply living as a transgender individual. The Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) was founded after a transgender advocate, Gwendolyn Ann Smith, held a vigil to honor the memory of Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was killed in 1998. The vigil commemorated all of the trans people that had been lost to violence that year, and this catalyzed the movement to memorialize lives lost every year thereafter.

What Does “Transgender” Mean?

The term “transgender” describes individuals whose gender identity differs from the sex they were assigned at birth. Gender identity is a person’s internal, personal sense of being a man or a woman (www.glaad.com). For transgender people, their gender identity and their sex do not match. Gender identity is not about sexual orientation. Sexual orientation is who you are attracted to, and gender identity is about who you are.

Violence in the Trans Community

The transgender community experiences violence and sexual assault at astounding rates. One in two transgender individuals are sexually assaulted or abused at some point in their lives. This means that possibly the majority of those in the trans community are dealing with the aftermath of trauma as well as fearing repeat victimization (www.ovc.gov). In a NCVAP 2009 report on hate violence, 50 percent of people who died in violent crimes against the LGBTQ community were trans women.

Facts at a Glance

According to a 2011 Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey found:

  • 12% of transgender youth report being sexual assaulted in K-12 settings by peers or educational staff.
  • 13% of African-American transgender people surveyed were sexually assaulted in the workplace.
  • 22% of homeless transgender individuals were assaulted while staying in shelters.

Getting Help

Even though the trans community faces alarming rates of violence, abuse, assault and homicides, only one in five LGBTQ victims of intimate partner violence or sexual assault get help from service providers. At Safe Haven, we serve all individuals who have been abused or sexually assaulted. We now have a Special Populations Advocate to focus even more on communities (like those in the LGBTQ community) that need our services. Our hope is to reduce these statistics and let victims and survivors know that we are available as peer support, a safe place to stay if leaving an abusive environment, as well as court and hospital advocacy and counseling and support group services. No one deserves to be abused or assaulted, and we offer our support to those hurting in the trans community, today and every day, as they mourn those who have lost their lives to hate crimes and violence

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