Transgender Day of Remembrance

Nov 17, 2023

On November 20 we remember those who have lost their lives as victims of anti-trans violence and stand together in opposition to the hatred at the root of this ongoing threat to the safety of trans people.

First acknowledged in 1999, Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) began as a vigil honoring the memory of Rita Hester, a trans woman tragically killed the previous year. The commemoration grew to embrace all lives lost to violence since Hester's tragic death, evolving into an annual reminder that anti-trans violence must end.

More than a decade since Gender Identity and Gender Expression became protected characteristics under the Nova Scotia Human Rights Act, trans adults and children continue to face persistent discrimination, harassment, and threats to their fundamental rights and safety. Trans people do not need to conform to fit within the worldview of others. This expectation is misguided, dangerous and has no place in our society.

The need to safeguard the intrinsic dignity and rights of transgender people goes beyond mere acknowledgment; it requires actionable policies and nurturing cultures where transphobic behaviors are unequivocally prohibited.

Every individual shares the responsibility of cultivating communities based on respect, care, and a resolute defense against violence.

As November 20 approaches, I ask all Nova Scotians to reflect on the lives lost to anti-trans violence and acknowledge the profound impact on families and communities. We must speak out against this form of hatred. Through education, empathy, and advocacy, we can contribute to a world where transgender lives are celebrated, supported, and safeguarded from the scourge of prejudice and violence.

The preceding is a statement from Joseph Fraser, Director & CEO of the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission.