2002 Transgender Day of Remembrance - A Success

Originally appeared in Transgender Tapestry #102, Summer 2003.


The 4th annual Transgender Day of Remembrance, held November 20th, 2002, was an event on a scale never before seen in the transgender community. In over 90 different locations across the world, transgendered people and their supporters took a stand against anti-transgender violence.

Events were held in eight different countries?Australia, Canada, Chile, France, Israel, Italy, Spain, and the United States. In the U.S. alone, events could be found in 31 states and the District of Columbia, stretching across the country from Massachusetts to California.
Events were held in several key locations including 9 of the 10 most populous cities in the United States, more than one-half the areas in which an anti-transgender murder took place in 2002,
and 8 of the 9 most dangerous cities, according to the statistics presented via the Remembering Our Dead web site.

There were almost four times as many events as in 2001, with growth being seen mostly in the number of high schools, colleges, and universities hosting activities. Over half of this year?s events were held on school campuses, leading to new and unique ways of getting the message across.

Some schools opted to present chalk outlines of transgender victims around their school, while Wesleyan College took on one of the most contentious of locations?the restroom?making the men?s and women?s rooms on the campus gender-neutral for the day, and papering the walls of these places with slogans and information about the needs of the transgendered.

The involvement at the international level was notable this year as well. Italian transgender activists joined forces to host events in four cities, and got the largest labor union in Italy to note the event on their site. Perth, Australia and three locations in Canada represented the British Commonwealth, and even a small group of transgendered people in Tel Aviv took a moment to remember those we?ve lost at the hands of anti-transgender violence and prejudice.

This was also an event that brought together a number of organizations. The Transgender Day of Remembrance has long been a project of Gender Education & Advocacy, but the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, Female-to-Male International, the National Transgender Advocacy Coalition, and the National Consortium of LGBT Educators in Higher Education also lent a hand in making the event a success in 2002. Even old foes of the transgender movement, the Human Rights Campaign, noted the Day of Remembrance on their web site.

Given that 2002 has been one of the worst on record for these sorts of violent acts, it was only
fair that the turnout was high. As of the day of the event, 27 people had been reported killed since the previous Transgender Day of Remembrance. Thirteen of those deaths were in the United States, with the most recent being that of Gwen Araujo, who was beaten and strangled at a house party
in Newark, California.

For more information on the Remembering Our Dead project and the Day of Remembrance, see:

www.rememberingourdead.org or contact Gwendolyn Ann Smith at gwen@gwensmith.com.

A project of Gender Education & Advocacy (www.gender.org)