JamieAnn MeyersJamieAnn Meyers
Transgender Representative
ReconcilingWorks Board of Directors

During this year’s 16th annual International Transgender Day of Remembrance we memorialize and celebrate the lives of those transgender and gender non-conforming people who have been murdered this past year, simply because of their gender identities.  We also honor the lives of all trans people who ended their own lives by suicide because they could just not bear to go on in the face of the emotional and/or physical violence brought about by transphobia.

These 268 people, identified by Transgender Europe’s Trans Murder Monitoring project, are just a fraction of the total number of trans victims, because trans murders often go uninvestigated and unreported.

The transgender and gender non-conforming people who were murdered this year stand as a stark reminder of the fear and hatred of trans people that still exists in many parts of our global society.  This fear and hatred fills the hearts of those who cannot accept or understand that each person has the right to live in their true gender identity, as their true selves. 

According to the Trans* Violence Tracking Portal, “In the United States transgender women of color have continued to be the targets of murder and violence.  Of the 14 murders reported 10 of the 14 victims are transgender women of color.” 

Transgender and gender-nonconforming people live at the intersections of systemic oppressions. Our gender identities and expressions don’t conform to the expectations of society. And if we are trans women of color, we are subject to even more stigmatization and harassment. Transmisogyny is at the root of much of the violence against trans women, and racism plays a huge role in this violence.

While this day is a solemn day of remembrance, it is important that we also celebrate that trans folks are a resilient people.  We gather together, transgender and gender non-conforming people and cisgender allies alike, to care for one another, to advocate for one another, to continue to rise up, to live our lives in dignity and truth, and to bring about change in our society.

Amazingly enough, less than ten percent of Americans say they know a trans person, while ninety percent say they know someone who is lesbian, gay, or bisexual.  A positive way for our trans community to change this statistic and to work for societal change and progress in our struggle for civil rights is for us to be out and to tell our stories so that others will come to know our humanity.

What more can we do to help bring an end to this vicious cycle of murders and suicides of transgender and gender-nonconforming people that brings us together every November 20?

We need allies to interrupt the hurtful language and actions of people that feed transphobia.

We must work together with allies to help others understand transgender and gender-nonconforming identities and experiences so that someday we may bring an end to the ignorance and fear at the root of transphobia.

We must work together with allies for passage of legislation at all levels of government that will bring justice to transgender and gender-nonconforming people.

We must use whatever privilege we have to create change in coalition with other communities that are targeted.

We must all be allies to one another by intentionally working in coalition across identities, boundaries, and histories of violence and separation.

We must all work together to fight for justice so that every person is respected and accepted without regard to the differences that too often separate us.

We must begin to see our liberation as interconnected with the liberation of others.

We must remember that WE ALL MATTER!

Read More: 10 things every Lutheran should know about Transgender Day of Remembrance

Read More: Transgender Day of Remembrance Resources