The International Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) is held in local communities and schools across the nation to memorialize those who have been killed due to anti-transgender bigotry. Many victims of anti-transgender violence have been invisible in their communities and attackers not often brought to justice. The 21st Annual TDOR brings together communities to mourn and honor victims of anti-transgender hate crimes and as a call to action towards the respect of all people regardless of gender identity or expression.
There have been at least 20 murders of trans people in the United States this year. In September, The New York Times profiled the urgency of addressing the murders of trans people here. The Human Rights Campaign has a list online here with additional information on the lives and murders of those who were killed in the past year in the United States that you can read at your vigil or event.
In Pennsylvania, we mourn and remember Michelle Tamika Washington, 40, who was murdered in Philadelphia on May 19, 2019. Philadelphia Police swiftly arrested and charged her alleged murderer. Last year, Shantee Tucker was killed in Philadelphia. In 2016, Maya Young was 25 when she was stabbed to death in Philadelphia. In 2015, Pennsylvania mourned London Chanel, 21, and Kiesha Jenkins, 22, both black trans women who were killed in Philadelphia. In July 2013, another young trans woman, Diamond Williams, was brutally murdered in Philadelphia.
Additionally, we are deeply concerned with the sudden deaths of two transgender women in Pennsylvania this year. Elisha Stanley died in downtown Pittsburgh on September 16, 2019, and Alicia Simmons died in Philadelphia on November 3, 2019. Police continue to investigate both deaths, but have not reported evidence yet of foul play, or that they were targeted for violence because of their identities as black trans women. As our hearts go out to their families and loved ones, we continue to monitor information on their deaths closely and will amplify calls for justice from local leaders as they develop.
Cei Bell, a longtime leading advocate in Philadelphia, discussed the difficult lives many trans women of color face in the Philadelphia Inquirer in 2013 here. In the wake of Diamond Williams’ brutal murder, she wrote about the complex challenges trans women of color have, that “the situation with these minority transgender women is that at a young age, they are severely bullied out of school, thrown out of their family’s home and onto the streets. Then they have to survive with no education and no jobs. They are severely discriminated against even in the LGBT community. They aren’t hired for jobs, and if they find a job they are harassed. At the same time many of the same men who harass them want to have sex with them. I have often suspected that serial killers practice on transgender women because they know that nobody cares.”
In 2015, Cei Bell also noted in WHYY that the lack of attention given to the assaults and murders of trans women is appalling. She reflected that “I have escaped being murdered about 13 times. I am talking about walking down the street minding my own business and some man, or group of men, starts chasing me. A friend and I once counted about 13 transgender women who we knew who had been murdered — and that was 25 years ago. Most people don’t go through this. Transgender women, especially minority transgender women, have a very specific, very dangerous problem that has been ignored.”
There have been countless slayings of transgender people because of their identity around the world since last year.
Dozens of organized vigils will be held in communities throughout the commonwealth. This is a large increase from just a few events held in Pittsburgh and Southeastern Pennsylvania before 2013.
November is also Transgender Awareness Month, and November 12-19, 2019 is Trans Awareness Week. Many communities are not just mourning those lost to violence, but celebrating and lifting up the lives of transgender people. There are wonderful educational and community events set to take place throughout Pennsylvania. Several student organizations are holding Transgender Awareness Weeks. Trans Day of Visibility is annually on March 31st.
For the eighth year, PYC provides an online listing of Trans Day of Remembrance/Resilience events across the commonwealth.
Transgender Day of Remembrance Vigils in Pennsylvania
November 20th, 2019
*Unless Otherwise Noted*
Metropolitan Community Church of the Lehigh Valley (1401 Greenview Drive), November 20th, 7:00pm – 8:00pm
Hosts: Lehigh Valley Transgender Renaissance and Metropolitan Community Church of the Lehigh Valley
University of Pittsburgh – Bradford (Wick Chapel), November 20th, 12:00pm – 1:00pm
Host: Pride Alliance and the Gender Sexuality and Women’s Studies program
Dickinson College (Social Hall West), November 20th, 5:00pm – 7:00pm
Host: Dickinson College LGBTQ Services
Thomas Paine Unitarian Universalist Fellowship (3424 Ridge Pike), November 20th, 7:30pm – 8:30pm
Host: Thomas Paine Unitarian Universalist Fellowship
Shiloh UCC (512 Bloom Street), November 20th, 6:00pm – 7:00pm
Host: PFLAG Danville, Shiloh UCC
Rainbow Room (186 East Court Street), November 20th, 6:00pm – 8:00pm
Host: Rainbow Room and Rise Up Doylestown
Erie County Courthouse (140 West 6th Street), November 20th, 6:30pm – 7:30pm
Host: TransFamily of NWPA
Vigil: Pennsylvania State Capitol – Main Steps (3rd and State Streets), November 20th, 6:00pm – 7:00pm
Host: TransCentral PA, Keystone Business Alliance, Trans Advocacy Pennsylvania, HACC Allies, MCC of the Spirit
Trans Day of Remembrance Healing Space: The LGBT Center of Central Pennsylvania (1306 North 3rd Street), November 20th, 5:00pm – 8:00pm
Love in Action United Church of Christ (350 South York Road), November 17th, 10:30am – 11:30am
Host: Love in Action United Church of Christ (Note: Remembrance service will take place during their regular Sunday service)
Lancaster City Hall (120 North Duke Street), November 20th, 12:00pm – 1:00pm
Host: The Lancaster LGBTQ+ Coalition
Wisdom’s Table at St. Peter’s United Church of Christ (816 Buchanan Avenue), November 20th, 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Host: York Lancaster Transgender Support and Trans Minors Rights
TriVersity (201 West Harford Street), November 20th, 7:00pm – 8:00pm
TDOR Memorial Service: William Way LGBT Community Center (1315 Spruce Street), November 20th, 6:00pm – 8:00pm
Host: William Way LGBT Community Center
Temple University (Bell Tower), November 20th, 7:00pm – 8:00pm
Host: Queer Student Union
City-County Building (414 Grant Street), November 20th, 7:00pm – 9:30pm
Host: SisTers PGH and the Pittsburgh Mayor’s LGBTQIA+ Advisory Council
Calvary United Church of Christ (640 Centre Avenue), November 20th, 7:00pm – 8:30pm
Host: Reading Pride Celebration
St. Luke’s Episcopal Church (232 Wyoming Avenue), November 20th, 7:00pm – 8:00pm
Penn State University (Pasquerilla Spiritual Center), November 12th, 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Host: Penn State Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity
First Presbyterian Church (100 East Wheeling Street), November 20th, 6:00pm – 7:00pm
Host: Washington County GSA
Unitarian Congregation of West Chester (501 South High Street), November 20th, 7:00pm – 8:00pm
Host: LGBT Equality Alliance of Chester County
Union Lutheran Church of York (408 West Market Street), November 20th, 6:00pm – 8:00pm
Host: York LGBT Center and York EqualityFest
November 2019 Transgender Awareness Events
Penn LGBT Center (3907 Spruce Street), November 15th, 6:00pm – 8:00pm
Host: Penn Non-Cis
Philadelphia: City Hall Trans Flag Raising
Philadelphia City Hall (North Apron), November 20th, 12:00pm – 1:00pm
Host: Philadelphia Mayor’s Office of LGBT Affairs
State College: Penn State Trans Visibility Month
Penn State University
Host: Penn State Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity
Events All Month Long
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