HRC Blog

HRC Observes Transgender Day of Remembrance in 25 Cities

This post comes from Hyacinth Alvaran, HRC Diversity Program Associate, and Nick Peterson, HRC Diversity Intern:

On November 20, communities across the nation and world united for Transgender Day of Remembrance. As attested to by Linda Brown, Board member for HRC Portland who attended her local TDoR events, “People all over the world hold vigils and to read the names of those who had been killed during the year. Regrettably, this list has far too many names.”

This year, HRC participated in TDoR events in 25 cities from coast to coast. Here are a few reflections about these events from HRC leaders and supporters across the country:

From Vancouver, WA on Nov. 12 and Portland, OR on Nov. 20:

“This type of service, ceremony, mass, program is important for our community.  We learn how important it is to advocate for ourselves, to network and build partnerships with others and we are reminded how important it is to be smart and safe in our daily lives.  Transgender Day of Remembrance is not something I look forward to each year, but I will always participate and acknowledge how far we have come yet how far we have to go in a world that still has our detractors who use hate and violence as a solution to their own twisted fears.”

- Linda Brown, Board member of the HRC Portland Steering Committee

From Cincinnati, OH on Nov. 14:    

"We are all beautiful. We are all wonderful. We are all genderful." These were the graciously intoned words of Rev. Susan Bryan Quinn that set the mood for a solemn, yet hope-filled Transgender Day of Remembrance. From the harmonies of the opening song "All Things Bright and Beautiful" to the personal triumphant story of keynote speaker Vicky Blum, the evening was a thoughtful balance of honoring those that had lost their lives in tragedy and celebrating the courage of those still moving forward.”

- Andrew Winters, Diversity Co-Chair of the HRC Greater Cincinnati Steering Committee

From Nashville, TN on Nov. 14:

“We had a meaningful time to come together and remember, by name, so many of the victims of violence – reminding us of the importance of creating safe spaces wherever we go. And, remembering so many of the "unknown" people, who have no voice but were loved by many.”

- Laura Rossbert, Diversity Co-Chair of the HRC Nashville Steering Committee

From Long Beach, CA on Nov. 15:

“Our quiet ceremony included the participation of three other organizations, and we have continued making progress with our local government by presenting the significance of Transgender Day of Remembrance to our city's Human Relations Commission. The gathering of such a diverse patchwork of residents to respect these lives reminds me that courage comes in many forms. Coming together every year to attend this ceremony demonstrates how brave we all can be in the face of intolerance.”

- Nick Spurlock, Diversity Co-Chair of the HRC Orange County / Long Beach / Palm Springs Steering Committee

From San Antonio, TX on Nov. 15:

“Several religious leaders from the city and members from SAGA (San Antonio Gender Association) all gathered to honor our brothers and sisters who have been wrongly killed the past year.”

- Chad Reumann, Board member of the HRC San Antonio Steering Committee

From Palm Springs, CA on Nov. 17:

“You stood in line with us at the grocery store, seen us walking down the street. We’re doctors and we’re mechanics. We’re in every walk of life. We hold down good jobs, and we’re a good part of society.”

- Mattie Leyden, Diversity Co-Chair of the HRC Orange County / Long Beach / Palm Springs Steering Committee, and leader of a transgender support group at the LGBT Community Center of the Desert

From Houston, TX on Nov. 17:

"What a moving night here in Houston. We had approximately 200 people in attendance, the most who have come to pay their respects to the fallen members of our transgender community."

- Paul Guillory, Diversity Co-Chair of the HRC Houston Steering Committee

From Charlotte, NC Nov. 17:

“‘My grief lies all within, and these external matters of lament are merely shadows to the unseen grief that swells with silence in the tortured soul.’ These poetic words of William Shakespeare scratch the surface of the emptiness left by the beautiful people we remember today.”

- LaWana Mayfield, Charlotte Council Member and former Board member of the HRC North Carolina Steering Committee

“My brother Tony lived as a woman since he was 18 years old, and was always loved by his family. Now, I know that he is also loved and remembered by the transgender community. I am honored to be here on Transgender Day of Remembrance because I know how many families have a loved brother or sister taken from them.”

- Donielle Prophete, sister of the late Toni Alston

From Boston, MA on Nov. 18:

“HRC Boston was a "Defender" sponsor of this very important event. St. Paul's Cathedral was packed on the day of the event filled with a very diverse crowd. It was so moving hearing the stories of different individuals.”

- Mario Rodas, Diversity Co-Chair of the HRC Boston Steering Committee

From Phoenix, AZ on Nov. 18:

“While it troubles and saddens me deeply that the list of names keeps growing from year to year, I also see the commitment and growing resolve of the whole community to end this senseless violence. We must continue to educate and stand together so this event one day will not be needed.”

- Kathy Young, Political Committee Co-Chair of the HRC Phoenix Steering Committee

From New York City, NY on Nov. 20:

“Nathan Schaffer, new Executive Director of the Empire State Pride Agenda, was the featured speaker who called for action: to support transgender legislation in Albany, sign support cards and share stories on ESPA's website.  NYS Senator Tom Duane and NYS Senator Elect Brad Hoylman were also present.”

- Marilyn Abalos, Diversity Co-Chair of the HRC Greater New York Steering Committee

From Chicago, IL on Nov. 20:

“Chicago commemorated Transgender Day of Remembrance with a resource fair followed by Night of Fallen Stars - a performance based showcase celebrating our ever talented trans youth. It was incredibly touching to witness the community come together to not only honor those lost but also collectively discuss and empower each other ensuring their deaths not be in vein.”

- Marisa McCabe, Gala Co-Chair for the HRC Chicago Steering Committee

From Washington, D.C. on Nov. 20:

“Sitting in a room of over 100 transgender and non-conforming individuals and allies, I felt a powerful sense of solidarity. Hearing Mayor Vincent Gray and Fire Chief Kenneth Ellerbe advocating for the trans* community gave me hope that one day being transgender or gender non-conforming will be just another characteristic that makes us human.”

- Nick Peterson, HRC Diversity Intern


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