Wednesday, November 18, 2009

TDOR, the international Transgender Day of Remembrance

This Friday, November 20, is the Transgender Day of Remembrance. TDOR was set aside to memorialize those who were killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice. The event is held in November to honor Rita Hester, whose murder on November 28th, 1998 kicked off the Remembering Our Dead web project and a San Francisco candlelight vigil in 1999. Rita Hester’s murder — like most anti-trans murder cases — has yet to be solved.

Although not every person represented during the Day of Remembrance self-identified as trans (that is, as a transsexual, crossdresser, or otherwise gender-variant), each was a victim of violence based on bias against transgendered people.

The purpose of the day is to raise public awareness of hate crimes against transgender people. Transgender Day of Remembrance publicly mourns and honors the lives of transgender people who might otherwise be forgotten. TDOR gives transgender people and their allies a chance to step forward and stand in vigil, showing love, respect, and solidarity, and memorializing those who’ve died by anti-transgender violence.

Transgender Day of Remembrance can be used to educate students, teachers, and administrators about transgender issues, so we can try to prevent anti-transgender hatred and violence from continuing.

Ways you can observe TDOR include:

• Candlelight vigils and/or marches
• Discussion forums with activists, politicians, and/or school officials
• Performance art
• Poetry or spoken word readings
• Visual representation of the number of deaths with:
  • Cardboard tombstones of Remembered People
  • Paper cutouts of Remembered People
  • Chalk body outlines of Remembered People

• Teach-Ins and Speakers Bureaus
• Art/photo displays
• Trans movie screenings (such as “Boys Don’t Cry”)
• Trans 101 trainings

As with any awareness-raising day, it's not an end unto itself. TDOR is a tool towards the ultimate goal of the elimination of bigotry and prejudice against transfolks. It's important to use this day as a starting point for discussion and education. The work of TDOR can be continued by:
• Working to add “gender identity and gender expression” to laws and school antibullying policies
• Having a Trans 101 training for workers and educators
• Working to have some restrooms designated as gender neutral
• Collaborating with others on trans issues and teaching them how to be trans allies

For more information, go to the International TDOR website or the Gay-Straight Alliances Facebook Page. For a list of resources, go to this page from the Remembering Our Dead site.

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