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It's Transgender Awareness Week — Here's How to Observe It

People at a pro-transgender rights protest
Image via Shutterstock

It's a time to highlight the challenges trans people face and what they've overcome -- and to participate in a national survey.

This is Transgender Awareness Week, a time to bring attention to trans people, highlight their accomplishments, and note the challenges they still face.

The week, observed November 13-19, involves activities such as "educating the public about who transgender people are, sharing stories and experiences, and advancing advocacy around issues of prejudice, discrimination, and violence that affect the transgender community," GLAAD explains on its website.

It is followed by Transgender Day of Remembrance November 20, a worldwide observance memorializing all the trans people lost to violence during the year. The Day of Remembrance was created by activist Gwendolyn Ann Smith to honor Rita Hester, a trans woman killed in 1998.

Trans people, especially trans women of color, face disproportionate rates of discrimination and violence. At least 33 trans Americans have died violently this year, and the actual number is likely much higher, as many are deadnamed or misgendered, or their deaths not reported at all. Last year saw at least 57 trans Americans die by violence, a record in the time that activists and media have been keeping records, roughly a decade.

The past few years have seen a great increase in trans visibility, and since Joe Biden became president, he and others in his administration have expressed much support for the trans community. However, there has been backlash, with hundreds of anti-trans bills introduced in state legislatures around the nation and even in the U.S. Congress.

Many of the state-level bills have passed, with several states now barring trans youth from participating in school sports under their gender identity. Alabama and Arkansas have adopted laws banning the provision of gender-affirming care to trans young people, but both laws are temporarily blocked by court action. A major Oklahoma hospital ceased providing this care due to a new state law that would have withheld funding. Medical boards in Florida have approved regulations that ban such care as well, while Texas officials contend that parents are committing child abuse if they allow their children to receive this care. Hospitals have faced threats for offering gender-affirming procedures for trans youth.

Amid all this, acceptance of trans people is advancing in the U.S., particularly among young people. A Gallup poll found that 68 percent of respondents believe they didn't know a trans person, but 50 percent of those under 30 said they did. So while many Americans know trans people primarily through inaccurate and negative media presentations, younger people have friends and family who are trans.

GLAAD and other LGBTQ+ groups offer many resources on the trans community and Transgender Awareness Week. For events during the week and on Transgender Day of Remembrance, check the websites of national groups and also contact your local trans or LGBTQ+ group or community center. In addition, the National Center for Transgender Equality is taking responses for the U.S. Transgender Survey through December 5. This is the first time the survey has been conducted since 2015.

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