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Honouring Lives: Transgender Day of Remembrance

November 20, 2023

According to the Trans Murder Monitoring report, which tracks murders reported in the media, 320 trans people were murdered around the world between October 1, 2022, and September 30, 2023. Those were only the ones reported in the news and that number is expected to be much higher. The Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) is an annual observance held on November 20 to pay tribute to transgender people who lost their lives to acts of anti-transgender violence.  

Transgender advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith initiated TDOR in 1999 as a vigil to honour the memory of Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was killed in 1998. This vigil served as a commemoration for all transgender people who had lost their lives to violence since Rita Hester's death, marking the inception of the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance. 

In Canada, TDOR commemorates Two-Spirit, trans, and non-binary people who lost their lives to anti-trans violence. Trans people face many unique challenges, including the challenge of their gender identity not being affirmed. Trans people face elevated levels of discrimination and harassment compared to cisgender people, leading to adverse mental health outcomes. According to the Mental Health Commission, trans people are two times more likely to think about and attempt suicide than lesbian, gay, and bisexual people.  

This Transgender Day of Remembrance, we want to honour the Two-Spirit, trans, and non-binary members of our 2SLGBTQIA+ community in Canada. We also put together a list of resources to help support them: 

OutLoud North Bay provides mental health workshops, harm reduction, suicide prevention, life skills programming, tutoring, and more.

Native Youth Sexual Health Network put together a Mental Health Peer Support Manual for Indigiqueer, Two-Spirit, LGBTQ+, and Gender Non-Conforming Indigenous youth.

2-Spirited People of the 1st Nations Toronto Community Crisis Service

Trans Wellness Ontario is a mental wellness organization that provides low-barrier support to individuals and families.