Although President Biden often voices questionable statements, here’s one we can get behind. This Saturday, Biden honored Transgender Day of Remembrance with an official statement to commemorate the lives of transgender people lost to violence this year within the United States and beyond.
“This year, at least 46 transgender individuals in this country—and hundreds more around the world—were killed in horrifying acts of violence,” the statement begins. “Each of these lives was precious. Each of them deserved freedom, justice, and joy. 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.”
Transgender Day of Remembrance follows Transgender Awareness Week, observed each year between November 13th through the 19th. TDOR was founded over 20 years ago by transgender advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith in 1999 to honor the life of Rita Hester, a Black trans woman murdered in Allston, Massachussetts in 1998.
“Transgender Day of Remembrance seeks to highlight the losses we face due to anti-transgender bigotry and violence.” Smith is quoted by GLAAD. “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.”
The statement issued by Biden continues to read, “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.”
The bills Biden is referring to include 19 anti-trans laws that have been passed this year in republican states. The laws target trans inclusion in sports, and access to healthcare to name a few.
As co-chairs of the LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus’ Transgender Equality Task Force, democratic U.S. Representatives Marie Newman of Illinois, Pramila Jayapal of Washington, and Jennifer Wexton of Virginia introduced a resolution to formally recognize November 20th as Transgender Day of Remembrance earlier this week.
Democratic representative Ayanna Pressley, also known as a member of ‘The Squad,” took the Congress floor on Wednesday to honor each of the 46 known victims by calling out each and every one of their names.
“The cruelty of transphobia is a threat that we must confront and root out wherever it exists,” Pressley shared in her speech. “Whether in music, or on television, or in the hallowed halls of the nation’s capital. There is no place for hatred because someone is brave enough to show up exactly as they are, and to live their truth.”
President Biden concluded his own statement by asserting that “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.”
And act, we will.