Transgender Awareness Week November 2020
The second week of November is a one-week celebration leading up to Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR), which memorialises victims who have suffered transphobic violence and death as result of that violence.
TDOR is an annual event every 20 November where allies and advocates raise awareness of the transgender community, typically through education and activities, with the express purpose of informing about transgender issues and those who don’t conform to the what society might deem as ‘traditional’ gender stereotypes, together with the issues they face regarding their transition or their identity. The awareness day dates back to 1999 when transgender advocate Gwendolyn Anne Smith arranged a vigil for Rita Hester who was killed in 1998 after being stabbed 20 times for over beliefs and being an activist; Rita was an energetic campaigner for transgender rights. This vigil originated as a small local event but it now has international status, with events held in 185 cities across 20 countries every year.
Statistics from the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) report that anti-transgender violence isn’t just directed at adults; this is happening in schools too. 16.2% of transgender students report being assaulted as a result of gender expression, while 32.5% experience physical harassment. This is unacceptable.
Bullying and violence around a person’s identity is unacceptable.
Annually there is a central theme for the awareness week and this year the event is looking specifically at transgender representation in film and television. The theme has been informed by the revelation that 80% of Americans believe they have never directly met someone who is transgender. This viewpoint shows a startling mis-perception, suggesting that the majority of the public awareness about this community has been informed by more than a 100 years’ worth of misrepresentation and seemingly ignorant media images and narrative.
How can you show your support?
Marches usually mark the occasion but in the absence of marches this year you can show support in different ways by:
- Watching the documentary ‘Disclosure’ on Netflix and broadening your understanding of transgender issues. Encourage friends and family to watch it too.
- Light a candle in your window on 20 November in honour of those that have lost their lives trying to be who they were.
- Be aware of your use of pronouns in your workplace and all social situations, not all staff and people will identify with ‘he/her, his/hers’ etc. If in doubt use: they/them/their.
- The use of ‘it’ when describing a person is highly offensive- be considerate and compassionate about a person’s identity. This goes for all identities.
- Broaden your knowledge and make a clear effort to gain personal awareness- although from 2019 this YouTube clip is still relevant and really helpful: https://youtu.be/pDYiesH5JYg
- Download social media posters and add them to you email signatures and social media accounts- spreading the word will help people to talk about these issues and address any confusion.
- Have a look at this information pack and feel free to share it.
These are just a few examples of how to show your support for the event. The event is an occasion to remember, educate and bridge division in our communities, families and workforces.
Further information can be found at:
International Transgender Day of Remembrance:
National Centre for Transgender Equality:
Sylvia Rivera Law Project: