Trans Day of Remembrance @ U of T: Friday November 20

Friday, November 20, 2008

12 PM – 2 PM Outside Sidney Smith (100 St. George St.) – Come and create a community installation art piece about violence and gender.

1 PM – 1:05 PM Outside Sidney Smith (100 St. George St.) – Gather for a moment of silence.

2 PM – 4 PM at The Centre for Women and Trans People (563 Spadina Ave, Room 100) – Come to the Centre for light refreshments, reflection corner, and continue work on the art installation.

6:30 PM at The Centre for Women and Trans People (563 Spadina Ave., Rm. 100) – Head to the 519 events together. TTC or walking, to be decided. (TTC tokens available if needed.)

7 PM – 9 PM at The 519 Community Centre (519 Church St.) – 519 events include: performances, a reading of names, and a moment of silence.


Come out on Friday, November 20, 2009 outside Sidney Smith (St. George side) at noon for a remembrance service for trans people and those who have lost their lives in the face of discrimination from our society that rigidly defines sex and gender.

The Transgender Day of Remembrance was set aside to memorialize those who were killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice. The event is held in November to honor Rita Hester, trans woman of color who was also a sex trade worker, whose murder in Boston on November 28th, 1998, kicked off the Remembering Our Dead web project and a San Francisco candlelight vigil in 1999. Rita Hester’s murder — like most anti-transgender murder cases — has yet to be solved.

The prevalent view states that there are only two genders (man and woman) and only two sexes (male and female) and that these correspond. Any difference is treated as illegitimate, unnatural, and threatening to social order.

This ignorance often results in violence against people who are seen as violating this imposed order. This includes people who are transsexual, transgender, cross-dressers and drag performers, ‘butch’ women and ‘femme’ men, some two-spirit people and others of traditional genders, and people with bodies that are not perceived to match the two common classifications of sex. Friends, families, and partners are also targets of hate.

This fear of gender and sex variance (transphobia) is the motivation for many murders around the world. Some of the known crimes are distinguished by ‘overkill’: the bodies of victims are objects of hatred and are mutilated.

It is impossible to say how many of these deaths occur, since investigators and prosecutors often overlook this motivation, and since these lives are often considered insignificant by authorities and media. Furthermore, transphobia remains prevalent in police forces and the medical field.

The violence is distinct in form, yet intimately related to sexism and homophobia. For example, a biological female living as a male in society threatens the identity of authority and privilege of so-called ‘real men’; alternatively, if a person considers themself strictly heterosexual and experiences attraction to a trans person, they may feel they have been coerced into feeling something intensely ‘wrong’. There are also strong intersections of transphobia with racism.

Transphobia does not effect all trans people equally: Trans women of colour and Aboriginal women experience a disproportionate amount of the violence this day exists to remember. Transphobia also has a complex relationship with perceptions surrounding mental health and addictions. Class and age inequalities also create uneven experiences. Sex workers are particularly targeted and vulnerable.

The violent results of transphobia include murder, assault, criminal negligence, self-harm, and poverty. Help end this. You can inform others of this reality and speak up against verbal expressions of fear and hate.

Find out more at

*This event is part of our events for 16 Days of Activism Against Gendered Violence