White House Observes Transgender Day of Remembrance

The White House has joined the coalition of organizations and individuals who are observing Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoR), to remember those that have been lost due to anti-transgender violence.

Two dozen transgender advocates met with John Berry, Director of the Office of Personnel Management at the White House to commemorate the memorial. Mr. Berry led the group in a moment of silence to honor transgender victims of violence. Following the visit, the White House posted a blog post to encourage all Americans to participate in TDoR.

From the White House blog:

Earlier today, a group of transgender community advocates met with White House staff to mark Transgender Day of Remembrance and discuss ways in which we can work together to ensure dignity, equality, and justice for all people.

Throughout America and around the world, many transgender people face bullying, harassment, discrimination, and violence.  Far too often, we hear shocking and tragic stories about transgender people who have been assaulted and even killed because of their gender identity or expression.  The Obama Administration is committed to preventing violence against all people, including all members of the LGBT community, and this meeting was an important opportunity to explore ways to make our communities and neighborhoods safer.

At the meeting, community leaders highlighted a range of issues and concerns of importance to transgender people.  In the months and years ahead, we look forward to working to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all transgender people.

As we mark Transgender Day of Remembrance and reflect upon the lives that have been lost to violence and injustice, let us all recommit ourselves to ensuring dignity, equality, and justice for all people.

“To have a senior Administration official like John leading us in commemorating transgender victims of violence is a really good thing,” said National Center for Transgender Equality Executive Director Mara Keisling. “But to have President Barack Obama’s commitment to solving anti-transgender violence affirmed in today’s meeting is a great thing.”

Additionally, Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis also issued a statement to commemorate TDoR, focusing on the history of transgender people, as well as their place in society today.

“The Transgender Day of Remembrance will be commemorated in cities and countries around the world today, reflecting on those who have died as a result of fear, hate and transphobia.

"I stand proudly today — and every day — as an ally to the transgender community and to every person and family impacted by anti-transgender bullying and violence. Transgender people are part of the diversity that America celebrates today and they, like every American, deserve to live without fear of prejudice or violence.

"What Gwendolyn Ann Smith began as an online project in 1998 to memorialize Rita Hester's murder has today evolved to include hundreds of vigils and events in workplaces, churches and community centers around the world. I hope that this year's commemoration will serve as an opportunity to shine a brighter light on both progress made and the challenges ahead."

GLAAD is urging its constituents to participate in TDoR vigils around the country, and GLAAD staff members will attend vigils in New York and Los Angeles. Observed annually on November 20, TDoR honors the memory of those whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence. Check out a full listing of TDoR vigils and events. A new timeline was posted on GLAAD’s Facebook page to illustrate milestones in transgender visibility and activism since 1952 as part of Transgender Awareness Week. That timeline is available here.