This piece was written by Designer of NextGen & Inclusiveness Ministries, Court VonLindern
Each year, Transgender Day of Remembrance is honored on November 20th by Trans and 2SLGBTQIA+ communities and allies to honor the memory of the Transgender people whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence and suicide. Communities gather for vigils to read the list of names, share their memories, grieve together, and call for an end to anti-trans violence across the world. TDOR take place following Transgender Week of Awareness that takes place November 13-19.
I often recommend that folks attend a vigil led and organized by Transgender people. As people of Christian faith, we have a history of gathering to mourn and witness one another's grief. We also have a history of excluding trans and other 2SLGBTQIA+ individuals from our faith communities. While it may be tempting to host our own event, it can take away from the value of being in space and community with those who are most impacted, and centering Trans voices on this day of remembrance is a crucial part of understanding what leads to the violence that causes these preventable deaths. The Human Rights Campaign reports that 88% of those killed in 2023 in the U.S. were people of color. 52% were Black Transgender women. 72% were killed with a gun. 47% of victims whose killers were identified were killed by a romantic/sexual partner, friend, or family remember. 48% were misgendered or dead named by authorities of the press (referred to by the wrong pronouns, identified by their sex assigned at birth, and referred to by their birth name rather than their chosen name). This isn't to say congregations can't or shouldn't host their own vigil event-- but there are somethings to consider before doing so:
1. Reach out to a local Trans or 2SLGBTQIA+ led org in your area
and see if there's a TDOR vigil planned. Attend and/or ask if they are in need of volunteers to help run the event. (Click here
and scroll near the bottom of the page to find a starting list for LGBTQ+ Organizations by state).
2. Attend a virtual event hosted by a Trans or 2SLGBTQIA+ led org.
Transmission Ministry Collective is hosting a Community Prayer at 6:00pm MT on November 20th. Click here
to learn more.
3. Host a vigil event with your community if there aren't other TDOR events being planned.
There are a number of toolkits available online to help you plan and organize your own vigil event. Most events involve a reading of the list of names, an acknowledgement of those lost by suicide, and a call to put an end to anti-trans violence. If you have Trans and other 2SLGBTQIA+ folks who are part of your congregation, reach out and let them know you're planning this event and invite them to be part of the planning if they so choose. Be sure to center their voice and experience through the process. Here are a couple of resources to help plan your event:
Regardless of how you honor this day, it is important to continue working toward ending anti-trans violence in our communities and to create places where all belong.
Is your congregation ready to start the conversation around Trans and other 2SLGBTQ+ inclusion? Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to talk about educational opportunities!