Transgender Day of Remembrance 2022

Thank you for sharing this moment in time with us. I know these past years have been a lot, not to mention this week, as we celebrated Trans Awareness.

TDOR the holiday was started in 1999 by transgender advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith as a vigil to honor the memory of Rita Hester, a transwoman who was killed in 1998. The vigil commemorated all the trans people lost to violence since Rita Hester’s death and began an important tradition that has become the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance. Roses seeks to highlight the losses we face due to anti-transgender bigotry and violence. We know Black and brown trans girls often experience higher levels of violence at home, school, and work.  Without saying, trans folk are no strangers to the need to fight for our rights and the right to simply exist is first and foremost.

Experiencing obscene levels of erasing transgender people sometimes in the most brutal ways possible, it is vitally important that those we lose are not forgotten and that we continue to fight for justice while keeping their names alive. It is pivotal to remember as we mourn that many, if not all of these victims, were killed by acquaintances, partners, or strangers- some of whom have been arrested and charged, but more often than not, their killers have yet to be identified and held accountable. As we know, in most cases, there is a clear sign of anti-trans bias at play. But we often fail to talk about how these queer and trans folk identities may have put them at risk of being in harm’s way, such as forcing them into unemployment, poverty, homelessness, and/or engaging in survival sex work.

We know it’s clear that black and brown trans women are disproportionately affected by violence and more specifically, black trans women at the intersections of misogynoir, homophobia, and transphobia. These unchecked gun laws continue to deprive them of housing, healthcare, employment, and other necessities that are needed to thrive. Let us continue the fight against anti-trans rhetoric and violence. While simultaneously engaging in Trans Joy, let’s cherish these moments with one another on the road to Liberation for all.

-Mulani Jackson (She/Her), Roses Initiative National Organizer