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Remembering and Honoring Trans Resilience

Art by Kah Yangni in collaboration with Forward Together

Today, November 20th, is Trans Day of Remembrance & Resilience.  It’s a day to lift up our trans community members near and far, say the names of those we’ve lost, and honor the legacy of our people. More than 300 reported transgender, gender non-conforming, and non-binary lives have been taken worldwide due to anti-trans violence, discrimination, and hate. 37 of these deaths occurred in the US, and of these, most of the reported deaths are Black trans women. The actual numbers of lives we’ve lost are likely higher because so many trans people are marginalized, misidentified, or unaccounted for even in death. 

The impacts of these deaths on the families, friends, communities, and loved ones left behind are immeasurable. 

On this day and every day, we want to honor the lives of those who have been taken from us and celebrate the trans communities that continue to exist every single day. Even in a world that tries to erase, eradicate, and diminish our light, our communities remain powerful. Within this resistance there is a brilliant resilience and legacy. 

Wherever you are, we honor you. Let’s shout out to the grassroots trans justice activists and organizers out there who are keeping our communities safe and alive every day. Let’s uplift the cultural workers and artists who share our stories and create a radical vision of what a future of trans liberation could look like. Let’s thank the stars for our trans elders for showing us the way, being our guide. 

Our movement is growing as more people create bold solutions and systems of support to alleviate the needs that are still unmet in their communities. This year, 96 of our applicants were groups we had never heard from before, some already active for many years, others for only a few. Among our 2019 grantees are groups that bail incarcerated trans immigrants out of detention, provide housing for trans folks, invest in training and developing the leadership of Black and brown trans people, and create spaces for trans people to come together and share food, art, and joy. These groups keep trans people alive, when the world says time and time again that their lives are disposable, and often do this work on shoestring budgets or entirely for free. This is what trans resilience looks like.

To keep this life-sustaining work going, we encourage everyone to donate within their capacity or volunteer with a local, trans-led groups. We’ve compiled a list of all 186 of our 2019 grantees here to help serve as a guide. 

For a list of specific ways to focus our movements on ending violence against trans women of color, we also recommend this piece by Raquel Willis, editor of Out Magazine.

Our lives and communities are part of a legacy of trans justice that strengthens our resilience and fuels our resistance. Today, let’s remember, celebrate, and uplift those we’ve lost and the ones who are still here. In honor of those who have come before us, let’s continue to build this legacy of trans justice together to create our future of trans liberation.

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