‘Each of these lives was precious’: President Biden issues statement to honor Transgender Day of Remembrance

President Joe Biden has issued a statement in recognition of Transgender Day of Remembrance.


Today (20 November) is annual Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR), which honours the memory of transgender people whose lives were lost and cut short due to transphobia and in acts of anti-transgender violence. 


TDOR was founded in 1999 by trans activist Gwendolyn Ann Smith to honor the memory of Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was killed in 1998.



President Biden today issued the following statement: 


“This year, at least 46 transgender individuals in this country—and hundreds more around the world—were killed in horrifying acts of violence. Each of these lives was precious. “Each of them deserved freedom, justice, and joy”, he began. 


Continuing: “Today, on Transgender Day of Remembrance, we mourn those we lost in the deadliest year on record for transgender Americans, as well as the countless other transgender people—disproportionately Black and brown transgender women and girls—who face brutal violence, discrimination, and harassment”.


“In spite of our progress strengthening civil rights for LGBTQI+ Americans, too many transgender people still live in fear and face systemic barriers to freedom and equality. To ensure that our government protects the civil rights of transgender Americans, I charged my team with coordinating across the federal government to address the epidemic of violence and advance equality for transgender people”.


“I continue to call on state leaders and lawmakers to combat the disturbing proliferation of discriminatory state legislation targeting transgender people, especially transgender children. As I have said before, these bills are nothing more than bullying disguised as legislation, they are un-American, and they endanger the safety and well-being of our children. I also continue to urge the Senate to swiftly pass the Equality Act so that all people are able to live free from fear and discrimination.”


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“Transgender people are some of the bravest Americans I know. But no person should have to be brave just to live in safety and dignity. Today, we remember. Tomorrow—and every day—we must continue to act.”


The White House also released a report detailing actions taken by the administration to advance transgender rights, including expanding federal IDs, making gender-affirming care an essential health benefit, and investing in research to look into the effects of conversion therapy.


Today, The White House, for the first time in history, held a candle-lit vigil to mark the day, which involved lighting 46 candles in honour of transgender and gender-diverse individuals killed in the country. A 47th candle was lit for those who lost their lives to violence globally.


Discussing the roots of TDOR, founder Gwendolyn Ann Smith said: “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.”


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