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Transgender Day of Remembrance: A Time to Remember & Empower

Apicha Community Health Center Nov 19, 2017  

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On November 20, Apicha CHC and folks across the country recognize and commemorate Transgender Day of Remembrance—a day to pay tribute to the transgender folks who have been killed as a result of transphobic violence.

TDOR is a somber day. Countless vigils are held for the transgender people who have died. Over the years, number of transgender deaths has increased. This year, 22 transgender people have been killed by violent means. Moreover, this “official” number does not include the unreported deaths of transgender people across the nation—thus, there are deaths that we as a society may not know about. This growing trend of violence against transgender people is alarming—and one that is not discussed enough in mainstream society.

While the increase in violence against the transgender community is incredibly disheartening, TDOR can also be a day of empowerment. Remembering those who have been killed is a critical part of TDOR, but there is also a sense resilience and a reminder to continue to fight for trans rights.

The founder of TDOR, Gwendolyn Ann Smith, recently stated that despite the violence committed against trans folks—especially trans women of color—it is imperative that “we need to keep fighting.”  

Apicha CHC - VICE

The Beginning of TDOR: From 1998 to 2019

On November 28, 1998, Rita Hester, a black trans women, was murdered. Hester was vibrant, fierce, and a pillar of power in the Boston LGBTQ+ community. 

Hester’s death moved Gwendolyn Ann Smith, a trans woman and long-time activist, to start a web project "Remembering Our Dead," and what followed was a San Francisco Candlelight Vigil in 1999. Since then, Transgender Day of Remembrance has become an annual opportunity to say the names of those who were murdered in the name of anti-trans violence, honor their lives, and continue the fight against these atrocities. 

In 2015, 21 transgender people, mostly transgender women of color, were murdered at the hands of extreme violence and hate. In 2016, 23 transgender people were killed by acts of violence, most of whom were transgender women of color. In 2017, 29 transgender people were killed by acts of violence and hate. And in 2018, at least 26 transgender people were killed violent means.

It can't be ignored. So many lives have been lost at the hands of violence and hate. This violence and hatred is encouraged every day by anti-trans rhetoric, denying people their rights to live in the body, spirit, heart, and mind that is the most honest reflection of who they are.

How are safe environments like Apicha CHC crucial for the Transgender & Gender Non-Conforming Community?

Since 2011, Apicha CHC has been serving transgender and gender non-conforming patients who come mainly seeking comprehensive primary care and support. The Trans Health Clinic has evolved over the years to not only provide the TGNC community much needed medical services, but also a welcoming environment where people can be themselves without fear of violence, shame, and discrimination. This fact has made our premises not only a safe place to be healthier physically, but also mentally and emotionally. 

We as a staff show a caring spirit and embrace understanding to everyone’s gender identity and expression.  "When it comes to the trans community, we need to be treated with a little more understanding and respect. More providers need to educate themselves and separate their personal feelings and do what they worked all those years to get a degree for," said Sylver, an Apicha CHC Trans Health Patient Navigator.

And, Apicha has participated in bringing the community to a public space, reviving the hope many have lost in the hands of bullying and violence.

However, as we continue our mission and still face bigger challenges with a positive attitude, we are still witnessing precious lives vanishing in the shadows of despair, cyber-attacks, bullying, domestic violence, and intolerant aggressive behavior year after year.

We must honor the lives lost and fight tirelessly to protect the precious lives of the transgender and gender non-conforming people that light up this world. 

What Apicha Community Health Center Can Do for You:

Apicha Community Health Center’s Transgender Health Clinic does everything it can to overcome these barriers. We are committed to providing whole person Primary Medical Care to address the distinct needs of transgender and gender non-conforming, gender variant and genderqueer individuals.

Our Transgender Health services include:

  • Personalized Primary Care
  • Routine Check-Up and Immunizations
  • Initiation and Maintenance of Hormone Therapy
  • Short-Term Mental Health Services
  • Care Management
  • Transgender Groups

If you're interested in getting complete, competent medical care, click here to request an appointment at Apicha Community Health Center today.

Transgender Day of Remembrance Resources 

International Transgender Day of Remembrance- Say Their Names 

GLAAD Transgender Day of Remembrance - November 20th 2018

GLAAD Transgender Day of Remembrance Resource Kit for Journalists 

GLAAD Glossary of Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Sensitive Language

The National Center for Transgender Equality Responding to Hate Crimes Community Manual  

The National Center for Transgender Equality Know Your Rights Resource 

Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund


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