As we observe Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoR) on November 20, 2023, it is crucial to reflect on the lives lost and the struggles faced by the transgender community. TDoR serves as a poignant reminder of the discrimination, violence, and adversity that many transgender individuals face daily. This day is not only about honoring those we've lost but also about fostering a supportive environment for the living. In Colorado, like elsewhere, the transgender community faces unique challenges, making it imperative to highlight resources and mental health services available for those in need.
Transgender Day of Remembrance was started in 1999 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 since Rita Hester’s death and began an important tradition that has become the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance.
TDoR originated to memorialize those who have lost their lives due to anti-transgender violence. It is a somber occasion that emphasizes the need for societal change, acceptance, and understanding. As we remember those who are no longer with us, let us commit to creating a world where every transgender person can live authentically and without fear.
Colorado has made strides in recognizing and protecting the rights of transgender individuals. However, challenges persist, ranging from healthcare disparities to employment discrimination. Understanding and advocating for transgender rights are crucial steps toward creating an inclusive society. Organizations like One Colorado and the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act are actively working to promote equality and justice for the transgender community.
In transgender communities, mental health is an important struggle and one made even harder by discrimination and violence. It is essential to provide accessible resources for mental health support. The Trevor Project, a nationwide organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ+ youth, offers a 24/7 helpline at 1-866-488-7386 or text them by sending START to 678-678. Additionally, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) provides support to individuals in crisis, including those struggling with their gender identity.
For those in Colorado, accessing local resources is crucial. The Transgender Center of the Rockies is a valuable organization offering support, counseling, and community resources for transgender and gender-expansive individuals. Their website provides information about support groups, counseling services, and educational resources.
Trans Day of Remembrance is a day to reflect, honor, and act. By acknowledging the struggles faced by the transgender community and supporting mental health initiatives, we contribute to creating a safer, more inclusive world. Let us unite to remember those we have lost, stand in solidarity with the transgender community, and work towards a future where everyone can live authentically and without fear.
The Poudre Press stands with the LGBTQIA+ community and encourages you to look into what you can do to support at-risk students and community members in making Colorado a better place for those who come after us.