TAMPA, Fla. — This year was the deadliest year on record for transgender and non-binary people.
According to the Human Rights Campaign, at least 45 transgender or gender non-conforming people have been killed. The organization uses "at least" because tragically, stories of violence and hate crimes committed against the transgender community often go unreported or misreported.
Transgender Day of Remembrance is a day to show support for the transgender community, bring awareness to these hate crimes, and honor the lives lost to violence. It falls on Nov. 20 each year in honor of Rita Hester, a trans woman who was murdered in 1998 outside of Boston.
"Each of these 45 names represents a whole person and a rich life torn from us by senseless violence, driven by bigotry and transphobia and stoked by people who hate and fear transgender people and the richness of their experience," Joni Madison, Interim President of the Human Rights Campaign, said.
And as Madison explains, the best way to honor these lives is through action.
This Saturday, PFLAG Tampa is hosting a Transgender Day of Remembrance Vigil at Joe Chillura Courthouse Square, located on 600 E. Kennedy Boulevard in Tampa. The event begins at 6 p.m.
"This year we will honor the lives lost due to this blatant anti-transgender violence, and look to the future as we inspire change in our communities," the organization wrote on its Facebook event page."We will not stand idly by while this violence happens - we will push for legislation to hold offenders accountable and advocate for education on transgender lives - we will put an end to this senseless violence."
On top of facing harmful stigma and demeaning rhetoric, the transgender community in 2021 has faced an "unprecedented number of anti-transgender bills in state legislatures," Human Rights Campaign explains.
This includes a bill signed into law by Florida Gov Ron DeSantis in June that bans transgender girls and women from participating in women's sports.
You can read more about what the Florida law means for female athletes here.
Learn more about PFLAG Tampa and the work they do to support our local LGBTQ+ community here.