Each year during the second week of November, people and organizations around the country recognize Transgender Awareness Week to bring attention to the transgender community through education, sharing stories and experiences, and advancing advocacy around issues of prejudice, discrimination, and violence that affect trans individuals. This week leads up to Transgender Day of Remembrance which takes place on November 20th.
Founded by trans advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith in 1999 to honor Rita Hester, a trans woman who was murdered in 1998, Transgender Day of Remembrance raises awareness of hate crimes against transgender people, while also publicly honoring the lives of transgender people who might otherwise be forgotten. Despite more and more people sharing that they know someone who is transgender, 42% in 2021 compared to 37% in 2017, the trans community, particularly trans women of color, continue to experience disproportionate rates of violence. Nevertheless, the transgender community continues to be one of resilience, joy, and self-expression.
Here Are 4 Ways to Advocate for Transgender Awareness Week:
1 - Educate yourself on what it means to be transgender
One of the best ways we can support transgender individuals is through raising our own awareness and sharing that knowledge and information with others. The Human Rights Center has an extensive Transgender and Non-Binary FAQ page that covers everything from what it means to be transgender to ways you can publicly support this community.
2- Honor the lives of those lost to fatal anti-trans violence
According to the Human Rights Center, in 2022 we’ve seen at least 32 transgender people fatally shot or violently killed. This number does not include stories that went unreported or were misreported, and therefore is likely much higher. Take a moment to learn about these individuals and mourn the lives that were lost.
3 - Learn how to be an ally to transgender people
To be an ally takes more than just expressing general support. It means taking an active role in supporting the community through everyday actions and words in your personal and professional life. While there is no singular right way to do this, GLADD has tips and resources for allies that are a great starting point.
4 - Get to know the resources and organizations that exist for those in the trans community
Sometimes the best way to help is by referencing those who are already providing robust resources for the transgender community. Familiarize yourself with these national resources so that you know what is available to transgender individuals.
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