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Transgender Day of Remembrance at VT

Wednesday, November 20th, 2019 marked the first ever Transgender Day of Remembrance event coordinated by the Virginia Tech LGBTQ+ Resource Center. Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) was started in 1999 by transgender advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith as a vigil to honor the memory of Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was killed in 1998. The vigil commemorated all the transgender people lost to violence since Rita Hester's death, and began an important tradition that has become the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance.


"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."
- Transgender Day of Remembrance founder Gwendolyn Ann Smith


For TDOR 2021, we will be joined by Raquel Willis.

Transgender Day of Remembrance featuring Raquel Willis November 18th @ 6pm

Zoom link:

Raquel Willis is a Black transgender activist, award-winning writer, and media strategist dedicated to elevating the dignity of marginalized people, particularly Black transgender people. She has held ground-breaking posts throughout her career including director of communications for the Ms. Foundation, executive editor of Out magazine, and national organizer for Transgender Law Center (TLC).

In 2018, she founded Black Trans Circles, a project of TLC, focused on developing the leadership of Black trans women in the South and Midwest by creating healing justice spaces to work through oppression-based trauma and incubating community organizing efforts to address anti-trans murder and violence.

During her time at Out, she published the Trans Obituaries Project to highlight the epidemic of violence against trans women of color and developed a community-sourced 13-point framework to end the epidemic. This project won a GLAAD Media Award.

Raquel is a thought leader on gender, race and intersectionality. She’s experienced in online publications, organizing marginalized communities for social change, non-profit media strategy and public speaking while using digital activism as a major tool of resistance and liberation. She will be releasing her debut memoir about her coming of identity and activism with St. Martin’s Press in 2022.


Sponsored by: HokiePRIDE, Black Cultural Center, & the LGBTQ+ Resource Center

If you are an individual with a disability and desire an accommodation, welcome! Please contact Dr. Bing at or 540-231-8584 at least five business days prior to the event.