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Local and Statewide Plans for Transgender Day of Remembrance | WDIY Local News

Transgender Day of Remembrance

Transgender Awareness Week takes place from November 13 to 19, a week dedicated to bringing attention to the trans community by educating, sharing experiences, and taking action against prejudice, discrimination, and violence that the community faces. The week culminates with Transgender Day of Remembrance, or TDOR for short, on November 20.

Countless transgender and nonbinary people experience discrimination and violence every year. TDOR seeks to honor and memorialize those whose lives were lost because of transphobia.

A press release from the Eastern PA Trans Equity Project announced their plans for the day, with a ceremony planned at the Metropolitan Community Church of the Lehigh Valley in Allentown, PA, as well as various other events throughout the state.

First formed in the 1980s as the support group Lehigh Valley Renaissance, the Eastern PA Trans Equity Project grew in 2019 into a grassroots nonprofit with the mission of empowering and building community among transgender people across a 26-county area of Pennsylvania. The nonprofit is the only transgender-led organization providing such a wide range of programming within the area they cover.

Transgender Day of Remembrance began in Boston in 1989 to honor the death of a local transgender woman. Since then, the day has become internationally recognized with the purpose of honoring those lost to transphobia and to celebrate the resiliency of the trans community.

According to a national survey, 57% of transgender people have faced rejection by family as a result of their identity. Around 30% have experienced homelessness and poverty.

A study conducted by the Williams Institute of UCLA found that transgender people are four times more likely to be physically assaulted, with the majority of violence being perpetrated against transgender people of color. In 2022, at least forty-one transgender and gender non-conforming people were killed in the U.S. because of transphobia.

The transgender community is currently seeing attacks on their existence beyond physical violence, however. This year alone, there have been more than 500 anti-LGBTQ bills introduced nationally. Hundreds of school districts, including many in every area of Pennsylvania, have been introducing policies that further marginalize and discriminate against transgender youth.

The Eastern PA Trans Equity Project explains that their goal for Trans Day of Remembrance events is to bring the community together and push back against transphobia in all of its forms. A focus is being placed on raising awareness about major issues and on teaching those who are unaware what impacts transphobia has and why they should be allies.

The Lehigh Valley event will include short speeches and poetry readings from several members of the trans community. Names of the transgender and gender-expansive individuals who have lost their lives since last year’s event will be read and a candle will be lit for each of them. It will take place at 7 PM on November 20.

Events will be held in other places throughout the state, as well.

Penn State will hold a vigil to observe the day on November 14 at 5:30 PM in their Flex Theatre, with a reception following in the HUB.

Kutztown University will honor those lost throughout the week prior to Trans Day of Remembrance with a memorial display in their student union. They’ll also hold an event on November 20 in their campus LGBTQ+ Resource Center.

Cities like Harrisburg, Philadelphia, Reading, Scranton, and more will hold ceremonies as well.

WVIA TV in Northeast PA will hold a televised panel discussion on the evening of November 20.

The Eastern PA Trans Equity Project emphasizes the importance of a day to remember those lost. They intend to give the community an opportunity to come together and mourn, to give each other support, and to work toward a better future.

James is the News and Public Affairs Director for WDIY. He reports on stories in the Lehigh Valley and across the state which impact the region, along with managing WDIY's volunteers who help create the station's diverse line-up of public affairs programs.
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