To help call attention to the numerous and deadly cases of anti-transgender violence around the world, transgender activists are organizing what they describe as the largest transgender-specific event ever put together. The fifth annual Transgender Day of Remembrance will be held on November 20 to honor those lost since the death of Gwen Araujo, a 17-year-old transgendered woman who was brutally murdered on October 3, 2002. While Araujo's murder gave national attention to the issue of anti-transgender violence, organizers said, deaths similar to hers are happening at a rate of about three per month worldwide. "Gwen Araujo's tragic murder was not an isolated incident," said Gwendolyn Ann Smith, founder of Remembering Our Dead, a transgender advocacy group. "Since her passing, there have been 35 other reported cases of anti-transgender violence leading to death -- 16 of those cases have been in the United States."
As part of the remembrance, a total of 29 states and the District of Columbia will have Transgender Day of Remembrance events, and five countries--the United States, Australia, Canada, France, and Italy--will host memorials within their borders, Smith said, with other cities expected to join in. In addition, several prominent transgender Web sites also will be "blacking out" their main pages in recognition of the Day of Remembrance. "The event has been growing at a steady pace, with this year on track to be our largest event yet," said Day of Remembrance location coordinator Ethan St. Pierre. "The more we struggle against this sort of violence, the less chance we could lose a loved one like my own aunt. We may even save our own lives."