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
Today, Transgender Day of Remembrance is observed by hundreds of cities and throughout more than 20 countries. Last year, Jordan Blisk, a queer, transgender, immigrant, veteran, attorney and advocate, gave the keynote address highlighting the intersections of race, gender, and institutional oppression. Following his address, an in memoriam was played to remember the lost this last calendar year.