This week is the National Week of Transgender Awareness. It is capped off by the Transgender Day of Remembrance.
The Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) was started by transgender advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith as a vigil to honor the memory of Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was killed in 1998. The vigil commemorated all the transgender people lost to violence that year and has become an annual tradition. In 2016 the day will be marked by services and vigils in over 135 cities and 20 countries.
Transgender people face extraordinary levels of physical and sexual violence, whether on the streets, at school or work, at home, or at the hands of government officials. More than one in four trans people has faced some form of bias-driven assault. The rates are even higher for trans women and especially for trans people of color.
Setting A Record
In 2015 there were 21 trans people who were assaulted and killed in the United States. Unfortunately, in 2016 the number has risen even higher with a total of 26. This is a new record.
Please try to attend one of the local TDOR services in your area and whether or not you can attend, please honor those who have been unfairly treated and work in whatever way you can to stop the violence.
You can find a list of transgender people who have been murdered at this link. Please remember that there are many, many more transgender women and men who suffer beatings, assaults and prejudice on a daily basis. In many cases these are not suffered at the hands of strangers but from people we know.
Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton and Reading PA all have ordinances that protect LGBT people from discrimination and violence. But laws do not mean anything if we do not support them and work for their enforcement.
The most important thing we can do is to take action against violence and prejudice. If you are aware of a situation communicate it to someone who can help. If you see something happening defend that person and if you know someone who is afraid, direct them to resources that can help. That includes the following:
For domestic violence In the Lehigh Valley:
Trans Lifeline for Suicide prevention - 877-565-8860
The National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233 (1-800-787-3224 TTY)
Live chat (limited hours): http://www.thehotline.org/what-is-live-chat/
RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)
A list of TDOR services in Eastern PA can be found below:
Allentown Egner Chapel of Muhlenburg College 2400 W. Chew St. Allentown, PA Monday, 11/21 @ 5pm
Bethlehem Metropolitan Community Chuurch 1401 Greenview Ave. Bethelhem, PA Sunday, November 20, 2016 11:30am
Bethlehem Bethlehem Rose Garden 8th Avenue and West Union Blvd. 18018 Sunday, November 20, 2016 1pm
Bloomsburg Kehr Union, Bloomsburgh State University 400 East 2nd Street, Bloomsburg, PA Saturday, November 19, 2016 7:00 PM
Collegeville Thomas Paine Unitarian Universalist Fellowship 3424 Ridge Pike, Collegeville, PA Sunday, November 20, 2016 7:00 PM
Harrisburg State Capitol Steps North 3rd Street, Harrisburg, PA Sunday, November 20, 2016 5:30 PM
Philadelphia William Way Community Center 1315 Spruce St, Philadelphia, PA Sunday, November 20, 2016 6:00 PM
Philadelphia University of Pennsylvania, LGBT Center 3907 Spruce St, Philadelphia, PA Wednesday, November 16, 2016 6:00 PM
Reading Calvary Reformed United Church of Christ 640 Centre Avenue, Reading, PA Sunday, November 20, 2065 7:00 PM Host: Reading Pride
Scranton Lackawanna County Court House Washington and Adams Avenues, Scranton, PA Sunday, November 20, 2016 6:00 PM
Stroudsburg Zion United Church of Christ 14 North 8th Street, Stroudsburg, PA Friday, November 18, 2016 7:00 PM