Remembering Our Dead

Unquestionably, the most solemn day for transgender people in the U.S. is the Transgender Day of Remembrance which is commemorated every November 20, throughout the United State and worldwide. On this day, we memorialize the many transgender people who have lost their lives to hate-based violence. It has been estimated that one trans person per month on average is killed in the United States in a hate crime murder just for being transgender.

Most people I suppose have no idea that transgender people in the United States face obscenely elevated levels of violence compared to non-transgender Americans. The epidemic of school bullying against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students has received much needed attention lately. That’s great and helping our children should be a priority. But we also face higher rates of sexual assaults, domestic violence, assault by police and hate violence—attacks and frequently murder just because of who we are.

The recent National Transgender Discrimination Survey showed that 26 percent of trans people in our sample had faced physical attack at some point for being transgender and ten percent experienced sexual assault. In Washington, DC alone there have been 25 anti-transgender attacks, including two murders, reported to the police just since July, according to the DC Trans Coalition.

All this violence is a well-known, deeply felt and, too often, personally experienced reality for the transgender people in your life—your trans children, coworkers and neighbors.

Violence against trans people is such a public health and safety issue that it is finally getting attention from the federal government. This Wednesday, with a small group of transgender and LGBT anti-violence advocates, we briefed White House officials on strategies for addressing the problem.

Fortunately, there is much the federal government can do: count transgender people in crime and health surveys, implement the Prison Rape Elimination Act recommendations (making sure they apply to immigration detention as well), insure that federal anti-violence programs take transgender people into account, and consider trans people when addressing problems of violence against women, youth, people of color, homeless people and immigrants. We provided the administration with over twenty common sense policies we desperately need to have implemented.

This week too, NCTE released a model school district policy with our partners at the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) to help schools better incorporate the increasing number of transgender students coming out in America’s schools. As a first-of-its-kind resource, we hope to better prepare schools to support trans students, end bullying and establish procedures that allow young trans people to grow up as safe, whole people..

Trans people have far too many murder victims to commemorate on this Day of Remembrance. There is some solace and hope to be had in seeing that every year, more and more good people who are not transgender are taking note of this crisis, attending Day of Remembrance events and pitching in to help end it.

9 Responses to Remembering Our Dead

  1. Nell Gaither says:

    Thank you to everyone who is working so hard to end the violence, and to end the discrimination.

  2. […] National Center for Transgender Equality: Remembering our Dead […]

  3. Roberta R Zenker says:

    This is how we change the world – good job, folks.

  4. Daniel Norvell says:

    As a transperson (a preoperative FTM), I find the biggest challenge is the lack of unerstanding within the overall community and the GLBT community at how high the risk we actually have on a daily basis of violence whether selctively or randomly.
    Its so minimised due to the lack of information in general public and or GLBT community and having any contatc and awareness of meeting a trans person. Unfortunately as I have found there is tremendous transphobia within the GLB community and Trans community too.
    I pass easily and transitioned about 7 years ago. However, its always in the back of
    your mind regarding safety that you will be miss read, whether walking in public,restaurant and or in the Mens bathroom.
    These discussions with in the GLBT Community need to occur no maytter how painfull.
    The other concern is the role of patriarical politics among the GLBT Community Leaders that occur that is not honestly discussed or acknowledged and how that impacts the issues of gender and what is perceived as “appropriate” transgender persons to be paraded in public gatherings and and Barbie-fied or Ken -fied as appropriate gender presentations in effort to pass trans gender protections yet within that guise using that merly to build both a public and privare political platform base. In fact this was communicated directly to me in Delawares GLBT Community as theer are efforts to pass Transgender protections. There is very little working knowledge or depth and having a full particiaption of Trans persons in general.
    In conclusion, unless we challenge our own prejudices and societal preceptions of our own GLBT people, and our own personal concepts associated with identity and community as a GLBT persons we merly become homogenised versions and projections of the overall mainstream community and society transfering those prejudices and beliefs onto our own selves within the GLBT diluting, snubbing and erasing our own indivduality and effectiveness to facilate short and long term change and overall healthness as a GLBT community.

    Daniel Norvell
    New Castle Delaware

    • Babs Siperstein says:

      where was the transgender community in reaching out to LGB allies who wanted to add “gender identity/expression” to the Delaware non discrimination laws?

      I was honored, along with your Governor, by a political LGBT organization in 2010 at an event in Rehoboth and I was disappointed to find I was the only transperson present. Who can step up?

      Babs Casbar Siperstein

    • Amanda says:

      Hey Daniel
      As a girfriend of a ftm, i would like to add you to facebook to talk and ask questions also, it would help me with his transition. Please feel free to email me as well.
      A GLBT supporter.

  5. Josie Harding says:

    A very great article with some brutally honest statistics. How refreshing for us!! 🙂 However, The link entitled “model school district policy” leads me to a Outlook Web Access site which is password protected. Could someone post another link so that I could read that document? I thank you in advance.

    Again, great article;


    Josie Harding
    New Brunswick, CANADA

    • Hi Josie,

      Apologies for the broken link. The link is now fixed above. You can also find the linked document here:

      Communications Manager, NCTE

      • Josie Harding says:

        Thank you so much for the link correction and for writing such a comprehensive model for Public Schools. As a transwoman and trans-advocate myself, I am hoping to share this document with our local Districts as I do not believe any such policies exist; and this is a wonderful starting point. 🙂 Of course being a transperson, most of the document’s terms were definitely familiar, but my delight was for the examples listed on page 10. These are outright GOLD in my book and really hit the mark for true representation of younger transpeople. Meaning far to often, trans youth policies contain examples that are of an adult based experience where transition and ways to do so; seem cut and dry. Rarely do you see in those examples the reality that these transpersons are still children and still learning about gender, sex, and expression, just like their young peers. Its not cut and dry for them yet. That being young and questioning can even mean “trying their old gender again” attempting understand themselves fully or to try to regain parental and public acceptance. And giving these children the space to explore these feelings is paramount for their well being and their future transitional goals. I feel your examples used here are CRUCIAL understandings for all School Staff, Parents and the Public at large to be effective in accommodation of all our Trans Youth!! A job very well done everyone!! 🙂



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