Saint Mary’s College of California Honors Transgender Day of Remembrance

 Que(e)ries: Diverse Genders & Sexualities Action Subcommittee of the College Committee on Inclusive Excellence and the Center for Women and Gender Equity recognize and honor Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR). 


This important international day holds more than one purpose, perhaps the most important of which is to publicly mourn and remember the trans* people who have lost their lives due to anti-transgender violence. In addition to vigils, which allow us to mourn those who have been murdered, TDOR serves as a day to raise awareness about hate crimes and violence against trans* individuals and gives allies the opportunity to learn about and support the transgender community. 

The founder of TDOR, Gwendolyn Ann Smith, reminds us of the essentialness of this day: 

"Transgender Day of Remembrance seeks to highlight the losses we face due to anti-transgender bigotry and violence. I am no stranger to the need to fight for our rights, and the right to simply exist is first and foremost. With so many seeking to erase transgender people -- sometimes in the most brutal ways possible -- it is vitally important that those we lose are remembered, and that we continue to fight for justice."

TDOR began in 1999 after the murder of Rita Hester, a Black transgender woman.  A candlelight vigil was held in San Francisco in her honor in response to the lack of media attention given to her case. Transwomen, particularly those who are Black, Latina, and Indigenous, experience disproportionate instances of violence, and the media has largely failed to draw attention to these injustices. At least 45 trans* individuals have been murdered in the United States this year alone (among over 375 worldwide), most of whom are Black and Latinx

In honor of TDOR, Saint Mary’s College of California is hosting a Transgender Day of Remembrance Cafe and Conversation at the Center for Women and Gender Equity, co-hosted by the Intercultural Center, The CARE (Campus Assault Response and Education) Center, Que(e)ries, PRIDE, and the Student Coalition Against Abuse and Rape (SCAAR). We invite you to join us between 9:00 AM and1:00 PM to learn more about TDOR, honor the lives lost, and learn how to support the transgender and nonbinary community. 

In addition to this event, The Mission & Ministry Center collaborating with the student organization, PRIDE, will remember our trans* kindred who have been murdered in the past year at the 8:00 PM Student Community Liturgy on Sunday, November 21. There will be a display including photos of those who have lost their lives alongside the Altar (Ofrenda) of the Dead in the Chapel Vestibule along with small offerings that can be placed or arranged by community members. At the Ofrenda (Altar), there is also a binder that welcomes all members of our community to list any and all names of those who have died for prayers. It is important for us to include our transgender kindred among these names and in our thoughts and carry them with us. For the Catholic community, November is the month where those who have passed away are remembered and who God will welcome into God's loving life eternal. We hope that these individuals are resting in power and that our community continues to work to end violence against transgender and nonbinary people.

“trans*” is terminology used to describe the diverse identities and expressions under the transgender umbrella, the common denominator is a trans* person who is not a cisgender man or woman.