Honoring Trans Women of Color on TDOR

Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) is an annual observance on November 20 that honors the memory of those whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence. You can read more about the Transgender Day of remembrance below, and find out how you can participate.

GLAAD worked with author and trans advocate Ja'Briel Walthour on an op-ed for Ebony.com around the importance of trans visibility and acceptance in African-American homes, churches and schools. 

From her piece with Ebony:
Sadly, we are faced with the stark reality of a society in which certain lives have less value, and where basic human dignities are stripped away with hatred. Violence against transgender individuals is not uncommon in many communities across the United States and, unfortunately, the litany of people who have been unfairly targeted because of who they are or how they look, is growing. According to the most recent data from the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) as many as 30 transgender people were murdered in 2011, most of whom were transgender African-American women, marking the highest number of reported anti-transgender murders ever reported by the organization which has been tracking hate violence for more than a decade.
Given current social trends, we are constantly reminded of the atrocious disregard and lack of respect for the transgender population. In fact, the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) released an unprecedented survey of 6,450 respondents highlighting violence and discrimination faced by transgender and gender, non-conforming people. Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey (2011), listed “hundreds of dramatic findings on the impact of anti-transgender bias”. It concludes that “people of color fare far worse than white participants across the board, with African American transgender respondents faring far worse than all others in most areas examined”.
We can change this.
Though solemn and reflective, TDOR marks the closing of one door and the opening of another. As family members, friends, and community leaders gather each year to mourn our losses, we are presented with an opportunity to connect and to collaboratively build a world in which every person is respected for who they are.
As a trans woman of color, I am persuaded that we can increase awareness and visibity; and, thus, promote tolerance and understanding within our communities. We can start by making our churches, schools, and work place more “user” friendly, and simply allow people to walk in their truth. When someone enters a sanctuary to worship, we must realize their right to peacefully assemble deserves just as much respect as our own. Hence, it is not okay to create an unwelcoming environment in a place designed and designated to strengthen your soul and spirit.

As part of GLAAD's mission to elevate voices from the LGBT community, we commend both Ebony and Ja'briel for continuing to tell the untold stories facing African-American LGBT people.