Several events are slated across New York City in commemoration of Transgender Day of Remembrance, which is recognized every year on Nov. 20.
Transgender Day of Remembrance has been observed annually since 1999 when Gwendolyn Ann Smith organized a vigil for the late Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was murdered in 1998. The annual observances have focused primarily on honoring transgender and non-binary individuals who have been killed.
In recent years, Transgender Day of Remembrance has been observed against the backdrop of record-breaking deadly violence against transgender and non-binary individuals, with transgender women of color often bearing the brunt of attacks. The Human Rights Campaign, which tracks the death toll of trans individuals in America, has tallied more than two dozen cases of transgender individuals suffering violent deaths so far this year alone.
Last year ended with 41 known murders of transgender or gender non-conforming individuals in the country after a whopping 59 murders in 2021.
The violence coincides with an ongoing Republican-led political campaign to curtail transgender rights in statehouses across the nation, with hundreds of anti-trans bills proposed this year.
Transgender Day of Remembrance gives individuals the opportunity to grieve loved ones and share space with others who are paying tribute to lost community members with photos, candles, speeches, and more
Some of the events are scheduled to take place on Transgender Day of Remembrance, while others are ahead of or after that date. Below is a roundup of several events taking place — though there could be other ones, as well. Keep an eye on social media for further updates.
Queens College is hosting a Transgender Day of Remembrance on the afternoon of Nov. 20 at Queens College’s main dining hall stage, where there will be free Transgender Flags, ribbons, and refreshments. Scheduled speakers are Chanel Lopez, the deputy director for LGBTQ+ Affairs in the Office of Governor Kathy Hochul, and Kim Watson-Benjamin, LGBTQ+ Coordinator in the Office of New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams. The event begins at 12:15 p.m.
The event is sponsored by Queens College’s Office of LGBTQIA+ Programs, the CUNY LGBTQIA+ Consortium, and the New York City Council. Learn more at Eventbrite.
LGBT Community Center
A Transgender Day of Remembrance vigil will be held at the LGBT Community Center at 6:30 p.m. on the evening of Nov. 20.
The gathering will feature art and words from transgender individuals, and The Center invited performers to share their personal reflections of hope, grief, solidarity, and resilience. Performers will have a 10 minute slot and receive a $150 American Express gift card, according to The Center. Learn more at gaycenter.org/tdor.
Public Advocate and Exponents
The Office of Public Advocate Jumaane Williams is partnering with Exponents — which serves people impacted by HIV/AIDS, substance use, incarceration, and behavioral health challenges — on a Transgender Day of Remembrance event on Nov. 24. The event will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the eighth floor of 17 Battery Place in Manhattan.
The event will feature panel discussions, giveaways, raffles, a continental breakfast and lunch, performances, testing, and more.
Those who prefer to participate virtually can follow along on the public advocate’s Facebook, Youtube, and LinkedIn pages. For questions or inquiries, contact [email protected]
Staten Island Pride Center
Join the Pride Center of Staten Island on Nov. 18 for a Transgender Day of Remembrance event featuring self-defense classes as well as an activity to memorialize slain community members. There are two time slots for the 90-minute self-defense classes — at 11:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. — and there will be complimentary lunch. Participants must register at pridecentersi.org.
The event will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 66 Willow Ave., Suite 202.
Washington Square Park
NYCYouth4Trans Rights, Clinton GSA, and Gays Against Guns are joining for a Transgender Day of Remembrance event at Washington Square Park’s Garibaldi Plaza Stage on Nov. 20 at 4 p.m. Gays Against Guns will have Human Beings — individuals dressed in all white to symbolize people lost to gun violence — and there will be a candlelight vigil. Those looking to volunteer can visit Gays Against Guns’ Facebook page (@GaysAgainstGunsNYC) and send them a direct message.
Marsha P. Johnson Institute
Folks interested in observing Transgender Day of Remembrance virtually can join The Marsha P. Johnson Institute’s virtual candlelight vigil. The organization is inviting people “to light a virtual candle to remember all the lives lost due to acts of anti-transgender violence.” Visitors are encouraged to light a candle for someone they know or someone they do not know. To learn more, visit 247candle.com/@mpji.