A Look at the History of Transgender Day of Remembrance

Updated: Nov 21

by Grey Anstiss, CCPRD Project Associate



leer en español / read in Spanish


On November 20th, 1999, Gwendolyn Ann Smith held a vigil in the Castro District of San Francisco to remember the transgender people the community had lost to bigotry and anti-transgender violence. This vigil was inspired by the unsolved murder of Rita Hester in 1998 and was the beginning of the yearly tradition of Transgender Day of Remembrance. Rita died in Boston, Massachusetts weeks after the killing of Matthew Shepard in Laramie, Wyoming, and showed many Americans the realities of being LGBTQ+. Gwendolyn was a transgender activist and early digital organizer who created a website called “Remembering Our Dead” which listed all those killed in America due to anti-transgender violence dating back to 1970. This list is now hosted on the website for Transgender Day of Remembrance.


The Transgender Day of Remembrance this year will be recognizing those in the transgender community lost to violence, self-harm, undetermined deaths, and COVID-19 between the dates of October 1, 2019 and September 30, 2020. In the United States, there were 47 transgender lives taken and 386 lives taken worldwide; this only includes transgender and gender-diverse peoples who were officially documented. It is acknowledged that many transgender and gender-diverse people even in their passing are misgendered or underreported.


Being together is especially important at this time of the year. We invite all community members to join us this Friday, November 20th from 7 — 8 PM at the Virtual Vigil for Transgender Day of Remembrance, organized in partnership between the Kenneth Young Center's LGBTQ+ Center and the Pinta Pride Project. The events of the program include two guest speakers and a reading of the names of those who lost their lives to violence against transgender people in the past year.


Please register here to attend. All welcomed to attend.


We honor those whom we lost this year:

28 Sep 2020, Mia Green, 29, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

19 Sep 2020, Aerrion Burnett, 37, Independence, Missouri

15 Sep 2020, Gia Valentina Romualdo Rodríguez, 46, Miami, Florida

7 Sep 2020, Isabella Mia Lofton, 21, Brooklyn, New York

31 Aug 2020, Elie Che, 23, The Bronx, New York

26 Aug 2020, Shelley Lynn Rose, 16

13 Aug 2020, Kee Sam, 24, Lafayette, Louisiana

28 Jul 2020, Aja Raquell Rhone-Spears ("Rocky Rhone"), 32, Portland, Oregon

27 Jul 2020, Queasha Hardy, 24, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

26 Jul 2020, Tiffany Harris ("Dior H Ova"), 32, The Bronx, New York

13 Jul 2020, Marilyn Monroe Cazares, 22, Brawley, California

6 Jul 2020, Angela Martinez Gómez, 42, Santa Monica, California

4 Jul 2020, Summer Taylor, 24, Seattle, Washington

3 Jul 2020, Bree Black, 27, Pompano Beach, Florida

1 Jul 2020, Shaki Peters, 32, Amite City, Louisiana

30 Jun 2020, Draya McCarty, 28, Baton Rouge, Louisiana

30 Jun 2020, Merci Mack, 22, Oak Cliff, Dallas, Texas

30 Jun 2020, Tatiana Hall, 22, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

25 Jun 2020, Brayla Stone, 17, Sherwood, Arkansas

13 Jun 2020, Brian Powers ("Eagle"), Akron, Ohio

9 Jun 2020, Dominique "Rem'mie" Fells, 27, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

9 Jun 2020, Riah Milton, 25, Liberty Township, Cincinnati, Ohio

6 Jun 2020, Name Unknown, 16-20, Chicago, Illinois

31 May 2020, Selena Reyes-Hernandez, 37, Marquette Park, Chicago, Illinois

27 May 2020, Tony McDade, 38, Tallahassee, Florida

9 May 2020, Jayne Thompson, 33, Orchard Mesa, Colorado

6 May 2020, Helle Jae O’Regan, 20, San Antonio, Texas

3 May 2020, Nina Pop, 28, Sikeston, Missouri

11 Apr 2020, Johanna Metzger, Baltimore, Maryland

3 Apr 2020, Henrietta Robinson, 79, Miami, Florida

1 Apr 2020, Ashley Moore, 26, Newark, New Jersey

30 Mar 2020, Lorena Borjas, 59, Queens, New York

28 Mar 2020, Lexi "Ebony" Sutton, 33, Harlem, New York

18 Mar 2020, Monica Diamond, 34, Charlotte, North Carolina

12 Mar 2020, John Scott Devore/Scottlyn Kelly Devore, 51, Augusta, Georgia

21 Feb 2020, Camila María Concepción, 28, Los Angeles, California

4 Jan 2020, Alex McCray, 22, St. Louis, Missouri

1 Jan 2020, Dustin Parker, 25, McAlester, Oklahoma

29 Dec 2019, Mia Penny, 26, Washington, D.C.

19 Dec 2019, Yahira Nesby, 33, Brooklyn, New York

18 Dec 2019, Alice Carter ("Baby Alice"), 35, Washington, D. C.

10 Dec 2019, Angel Rose Garcia, 21, Hyattsville, Maryland

7 Dec 2019, Nikki Kuhnhausen, 17, Larch Mountain, Oregon

14 Oct 2019, Brianna “BB” Hill, 30, Kansas City, Missouri

11 Oct 2019, Daphne Dorman, 44, San Francisco, California

10 Oct 2019, Christine Zephier, 23, Mankato, Minnesota

6 Oct 2019, Corbin Ray Bach, 23, Paducah, Kentucky


Resources for Transgender and Non-Binary Youth

National Center for Transgender Equality


GLAAD


The Trevor Project


Brave Space Alliance


Read more from the KYC LGBTQ+ Center

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Con­gress­man Raja Krish­namoor­thi introduced a new anti-bul­­ly­ing bill on Decem­ber 2nd


Planning Pride in a Pandemic: An Interview with the Pinta Pride Project

LGBTQ+ Youth Need to be Included in Sex Education: Here’s Why

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Funding provided to the Kenneth Young Center by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS), the Illinois Public Health Association, the Public Health Institute of Metropolitan Chicago, the Alliance to End Homelessness in Suburban Cook County, and Schaumburg Township.