Trans Remembrance Day: why is it commemorated every November 20?

During this date the International Day of Trans Remembrance or Trans Memory is celebrated. This date closes the trans awareness week, where a series of activities take place from November 13 to 19. These days, it seeks to celebrate and vindicate the existence of trans populations and, above all, to promote awareness about the institutional violence that trans people face in different countries.

On November 28, 1998, Rita Hester, a black trans woman from Boston, Massachusetts, was brutally murdered in her apartment, when she was 35 years old. Days later, 50 transgender people and allies marched in protest at the way the press recounted her, her life and her death, as US media made her gender identity invisible by calling her a masculine pronoun.

As a result of the murder of Hester, the website Remembering Our Dead was created, where the trans murders of at least 150 people were named each year. The following year, the LGTBIQ + community marched on the streets of San Francisco and Boston to honor Hester and other victims. In this way, the Day of Trans Remembrance was born.

After 22 years, this date has been replicated in different cities of the world and in each territory various activities, marches and vigils are held to commemorate the murdered trans people.

In a 2015 report by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, it is stated that the trans community is denied the right to identity according to their gender identity, they are discriminated against and excluded from the family environment, health services, education and work. All of this forms a mechanism of violence that impacts the lives of transgender people and places them in a vulnerable position.

In addition, different countries – including ours – continue without documenting the needs and experiences of trans people, such as the violence that society and institutions carry out against them, and it is activist organizations that record these events.

Between October 2020 and September 2021, the Transrespect versus Transphobia project revealed that 375 trans and gender non-conforming people were killed in 31 countries around the world. The organization, which maintains an observatory of hate crimes against trans people, announced that 96% of these crimes were against transgender women. Of this total, 70% happened in Latin America and more than half of the murdered people were engaged in sex work.

According to data from Trans Europe, Brazil and Mexico continue to be the countries with the highest number of murders against trans people with 125 and 65, respectively. However, in Honduras (a country with just over 9 million inhabitants) there were 53 murders.