A Blog in Honor of Transgender Day of Remembrance – Thursday, Nov. 20th, 2014

enlighten the world

A question many of us are asked at PRIDE Institute is what is Transgender Day of Remembrance and why does it matter?

Let’s take it from the Transgender Day of Remembrance founder, Gwendolyn Ann Smith: “The Transgender Day of Remembrance seeks to highlight the losses we face due to anti-transgender bigotry and violence. I am no stranger to the need to fight for our rights, and the right to simply exist is first and foremost. With so many seeking to erase transgender people — sometimes in the most brutal ways possible — it is vitally important that those we lose are remembered, and that we continue to fight for justice.”

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

As a community of LGBTQ individuals that tend to be looked as a whole, not as separate and unique communities, each have their own voices that need to be heard. Transgender Remembrance Day is a day that remembers those voices that never had a chance to be heard and gives everyone a chance as a community to come together to reflect on why these voices were taken from our community too soon. Although each community is separate and unique, we are still bound together with compassion, love and understanding for each community within this LGBTQ rainbow. How do we, as a whole, present a united front and help to give sound to those voices that have been so wrongly silenced?

One voice that has sounded loudly within the community has been Leslie Feinberg. Leslie was an author of many books and a true historian of LGBTQ culture. Leslie was known best for her wonderful book “Stone Butch Blues”. Leslie lost her battle with an ongoing illness this past week and will be greatly missed. Leslie was quoted as saying “You’re more than just neither, honey. There’s other ways to be than either-or. It’s not so simple. Otherwise there wouldn’t be so many people who don’t fit.” Leslie insisted her voice be heard, despite rampant discrimination and bigotry. Leslie provided hope for the voices of the unheard.

We challenge you to find a way to use your voice today. Whether it be an act of advocacy, volunteering at your favorite organization, an act of kindness, or providing someone with a smile. Find a way to use your voice to help others.

Listed below are those who have had their voices taken from them within the past year simply because of who they were. The list is long and difficult to read. Be a voice of awareness for those who can no longer be heard.


Local Events to Participate In:

Thursday, November 20, 2014 – 7:00 p.m.
Living Table United Church of Christ
3805 E 40th St, Minneapolis, MN 55406
All are invited to join the transgender community in this memorial service

The Exchange
3405 Chicago Avenue
Minneapolis MN 55407
The Exchange’s Annual TRANS JAM is back! This will be a visual Arts & performance show by Trans folks on the Transgender Day of Remembrance, November 20th, for all communities to attend. Come on over to The Exchange for some community celebration of life!

Doors open at 8pm with an Art show.
Performances start at 9pm.
$5 Sliding Scale Fee

They will be showcasing a line-up of visual & performing artists that identify under the Trans* umbrella.

ARTISTS: Andrea Jenkins, Jamez L Smith, Cynnthia Anne Michaels,Brayden Spearman, Anna Bongiovanni, Dewey DeWitt, Nico Pecans

Brought to you by RARE Productions, The Exchange Minneapolis community and Minnesota Transgender Health Coalition’s Shot Clinic/Syringe Exchange