Transgender Awareness Week A Time to Raise Visibility and Remember

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Between November 13 – 17, individuals and organizations around the country will participate in Transgender Awareness Week to help raise the visibility of transgender and gender non-conforming people, and address the issues the community faces. Transgender Awareness Week is a time for transgender people and their allies to take action and bring attention to the community by educating the public and advancing advocacy around the issues of prejudice, discrimination, and violence that transgender people face.

The 2014 Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and HIV-affected Hate Violence Report from the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Projects shows that, of the victims murdered, 80% were people of color, 55% were transgender women, and 50% were transgender women of color. Transgender women survivors of hate violence were also more likely to experience police violence, physical violence, discrimination, harassment, sexual violence, threats, and intimidation compared to those who were not transgender women. Findings from the ‘Injustice at Every Turn’ report conducted by the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) and the National LGBTQ Task Force showed alarming rates of violence and harassment expreienced by the more than 6,000 transgender repondents across a variety of contexts, including educational settings, at work, in interactions with police and with family members, at homeless shelters, accessing public accommodations, and in jails and prisons. As murders of transgender people often go unreported, and the identity of transgender murder victims is often misreported, there is no way to know accurate numbers.

Anti-transgender violence isn’t just directed at adults. Statistics from the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) show that in schools, 16.2% of transgender students report being physically assaulted as a result of gender expression, while 32.5% experience physical harassment.

The final day of Transgender Awareness Week is Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR), an annual observance on November 20 that honors the memory of those whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence.

In Hampton Roads, the transgender community will observe TDOR this year on Sunday, November 19 from 5-7 p.m. at the New Life Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) in Norfolk.  New Life MCC and the LGBT Life Center are producing this year’s event that will feature series of speakers, remembrance ceremony, resource fair and reception.

This year, Ms. Tona Brown will be a featured speaker.  Ms. Brown, a native of Norfolk and graduate of the Governor’s School of the Arts is the first transgender woman of color to perform at Carnegie Hall.  She lives in Northern Virginia and will be doing 1-2 performance pieces as well as two mini talks about her advocacy work and her journey. You can read more about Ms. Brown here, http://tonabrown.com/bio/

If you are interested in attending the Hampton Roads TDOR observance, details can be found here.