Today's Update: Tuesday, November 17

November 17, 2020

Dear Student Life Team, Friday is the Transgender Day of Remembrance.  It is an annual observance that honors the memory of the transgender people whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence. 

It was started in 1999 by transgender advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith as a vigil to honor the memory of a transgender woman named Rita Hester who was murdered in 1998. The vigil commemorated all the transgender people lost to violence since her death. That led to the observance that occurs on November 20 each year.  

The National Center for Transgender Equality says, “Transgender people face extraordinary levels of physical and sexual violence, whether on the streets, at school or work, at home, or at the hands of government officials. More than one in four trans people has faced a bias-driven assault, and rates are higher for trans women and trans people of color.  

The group Trans Respect Versus Transphobia Worldwide tracks reports of homicides of transgender and gender non-conforming people. They report 271 such murders in the United States since 2008. Worldwide, the number is 3664.  

Our Student Life Commitment and Action Planning Team efforts to illuminate our dedication to diversity, equity, inclusion and racial justice include a focus on providing information that will enhance our understanding of all identities.  

Here is what founder Gwendolyn Ann Smith said, "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."  

Knowledge leads to understanding. Understanding leads to inclusion. Inclusion leads to equity, diversity and social justice. It all leads to Scarlet and Greatness. 

Melissa