A day to remember

Emma Homan, Feature News Director

Transgender Day of Remembrance is an observance on November 20 each year to honor transgender people lost to transphobic violence. Each year, events like vigils, days of silence, and memorials take place to honor those taken before their time. These events are incredibly important to the LGBTQ+ community in order to grieve the losses of the community before large-scale anti-discrimination measures were put in place and to grieve those taken in recent years, even with national protections on their side.

The Transgender Day of Remembrance was started by Gwendolyn Ann Smith in 1999 to commemorate the loss of Rita Hester, a woman murdered due to her existence as a transgender person of color. Her case to this day has yet to have been solved. Rita is not the only person to be commemorated on this day, however. Transgender Day of Remembrance is a day for all transgender people to grieve their losses, and celebrate the progress they have made.

The Day of Remembrance also marks an important struggle for the transgender community. Trans people, especially transfeminine people of color, face incredibly high rates of violence, trauma, and death due to transphobia. From January 2013 to July 2020, over 200 transgender individuals had been murdered, according to NBC News. Five out of six of these people were women, and four out of five were black. This is a frightening statistic for LGBTQ+ people and their allies, making this another push towards the importance of the Transgender Day of Remembrance.

“It means a lot to me because it recognizes the suffering we have to go through on a daily basis and that’s something that’s not brought up enough,” Bellefonte junior Maxwell McKenrick, who goes by he/him pronouns, said. 

Bellefonte is home to many LGBTQ+ people, including many transgender people. Transgender Day of Remembrance holds a special place for each and every one of them, as many have or will have experienced discrimination, violence, or loss due to their status as transgender people.

“The Transgender Day of Remembrance, for me as a nonbinary trans person, gives me a little bit of hope that someday people will refer to me with the correct pronouns without having to be reminded… Most importantly, I want to be remembered,”  junior Candy Miller said, who goes by they/them pronouns

Senior Jace Beauton, who goes by he/they pronouns, also chimed in on the importance of the day to them. 

“It is a day to recognize the history that came before us. A day to remember the struggle we went through and the rights we fought for and what we still fight for. It’s a day of pride for us. A way for us to show how strong we are,” he said.