Transgender Awareness Week

Each year between November 13 – 19, people and organizations around the country participate in Transgender Awareness Week to help raise the visibility about transgender people and address issues members of the community face.

The week before Transgender Day of Remembrance on November 20, people and organizations around the country participate in Transgender Awareness Week to help raise the visibility of transgender people and address issues members of the community face.

Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR), is an annual observance on November 20 that honors the memory of the transgender people whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence that year. 2021 marks the most deadly year recorded with at least 45 transgender people, most of them Black or Latinx, killed. 

Read more about Transgender Awareness Week and the Transgender Day of Remembrance below, and find out how you can participate.

What is Transgender Awareness Week?

Transgender Awareness Week is a week when transgender people and their allies take action to bring attention to the community by educating the public about who transgender people are, sharing stories and experiences, and advancing advocacy around the issues of prejudice, discrimination, and violence that affect the transgender community.

What is Transgender Day of Remembrance?

Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) was founded by transgender advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith as a vigil to honor her memory of Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was killed in 1998. The vigil commemorated all the transgender people lost to violence that year and began an important memorial that has become the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance.

Participate in TDOR by attending or organizing a vigil on November 20 to honor all those whose lives were lost to anti-transgender violence that year.  Vigils are typically hosted by local transgender advocates or LGBTQ organizations, and held at community centers, parks, places of worship and other venues. The vigil often involves reading a list of the names of those who died that year. 

What is GLAAD doing this year for Trans Awareness Week?

This year for Transgender Awareness Week, GLAAD is participating in organizing a number of events, conversations, and campaigns which will be updated here throughout the week. 

As was the case last year, GLAAD is encouraging everyone to watch the documentary DISCLOSURE on Netflix and check out the associated toolkits created to supplement education to the film. The feature from director Sam Feder and executive producer Laverne Cox explores the history of trans representation in TV and film in unprecedented form, revealing how Hollywood simultaneously reflects and manufactures people's deepest anxieties about gender.

Given that, according to a new PEW poll, 68% Americans believe they have never personally met someone who is transgender, that means the majority of the public's education and awareness about this community has been informed by more than a century's worth of media which has overwhelmingly misrepresented and mischaracterized who trans people are--significantly influencing public perceptions, policy, and attitudes about the trans community. Nick Adams, the Director of Transgender Representation at GLAAD and a consulting producer on DISCLOSURE, who is also featured in the film adds: "Often this is true of trans people as well. We don't know a trans person when we're trying to figure out who we are. So we're looking to the media." 

Through personal interviews with 30 transgender thought leaders on screen and a production model that prioritized hiring trans people into crewed positions--offering fellowship opportunities when that wasn't possible, DISCLOSURE invites viewers to see the dynamic interplay between trans representation on screen, the resulting cultural attitudes off-screen, and real-world consequences of these depictions on trans people's lives as told revolutionarily from trans people's own experiences and perspectives. It's been said that once people see the media stereotypes, tropes, and clichéd portrayals stacked together in DISCLOSURE, it's impossible to unsee them. For trans people and allies, DISCLOSURE is an important survey of how media has treated trans people, influencing not only how trans people have come to view themselves but also how the world has, with a call-to-action to better understand and support the community--on screen and off.

Last year for Trans Awareness Week, GLAAD partnered with DISCLOSURE to spotlight the many talented trans people who contributed behind-the-scenes, showcasing a production model that can be replicated to center trans people in their own storytelling both in front of and behind the camera.

This year, GLAAD with Sundance Institute and the International Documentary Association (IDA) partnered to produce the DISCLOSURE Toolkit for Entertainment Industry Professionals designed to be used by film industry executives and creatives which contains information about the state of the industry, questions to consider and discuss, analysis of helpful and harmful representation, frequently asked questions, and further resources for best practices in authetic and accurate trans storytelling.

GLAAD also worked with Athlete Ally, Hulu, and Superfilms! to support the creation of an educational resource for Frameline's Youth in Motion Program which selected Changing the Game as its film of 2021-2022 to develop a film guide and educational resource to support and inform K-12 students and schools around inclusivity for transgender and non-binary athletes in youth sports. The program serves more than 1,400 schools in all 50 states. Given that the majority of the anti-LGBTQ legislation introduced this year focused on attempting to discriminate and exclude trans youth from sports, the film and its associated educational materials are helpful in engaging in conversations with accurate information and context. The curriculum can be accessed here.

In addition, GLAAD worked with Google to make Google photos a better experience for transgender users by expanding the level of control over the Memories feature. Check out the full article feature here.