Democratic U.S. Representatives Marie Newman of Illinois, Pramila Jayapal of Washington, and Jennifer Wexton of Virginia have introduced a resolution to recognize November 20 as Transgender Day of Remembrance to honor those who have died due to anti-trans violence.
The three lawmakers, who are co-chairs of the LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus’ Transgender Equality Task Force, said that the resolution is part of their work to support trans rights and shed a light on trans issues.
“Violence against transgender Americans, particularly Black and Brown transgender women, has become a national epidemic and we cannot allow ourselves to turn a blind eye towards this gross injustice,” said Newman in a press release. Newman is the mother of a trans daughter. She noted that there have been at least 47 deaths this year due to violence against trans and gender non-conforming people — the most violent year yet.
Newman added: “With this resolution, we are not only recognizing the far too many souls lost to violence this year but also honoring their memory with a commitment to fight against anti-trans hate, rhetoric, and violence. Transgender Americans face hateful and disgusting attacks — verbal and physical — every single day just for simply existing in the world, and each of us has a fundamental obligation to speak out against it.”
Jayapal, who has a trans child, said that besides remembering and saying the names of those who have died, “we must also honor them with action — organizing to end these cruel attacks once and for all.”
“As the proud parent of an incredible trans kid, I want every LGBTQ+ person out there to know that I hear you, I see you, I appreciate you, and I will never stop fighting for you.”
The Congresswomen note that trans women of color make up a disproportionate number of those who have been killed this year.
“Our trans friends and neighbors face greater threats of violence, bullying, and discrimination in nearly every aspect of their lives, and they deserve justice and equality,” Wexton said.
The lawmakers reference the history of the day, which was first held in 1999 by activist Gwendolyn Ann Smith to honor the life of Rita Hester, a trans woman of color, and other trans people who were killed because of violence.
“As we mark Transgender Day of Remembrance 2021, we are faced with the brutal fact that this has been the deadliest year on record for transgender individuals with at least 47 people violently murdered for simply being who they are. To honor all these lives lost, we must act,” U.S. Rep. David Cicilline of Rhode Island, an out Democrat and chair of the congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus, said. “The House passed the Equality Act in February – the Senate needs to do the same.”