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Reps. Wexton, Newman, and Jayapal Introduce Resolution to Recognize Nov. 20 as Transgender Day of Remembrance

Transgender Day of Remembrance marks an annual observance to remember the lives lost at the hands of anti-transgender violence

Washington, DC -- Today, U.S. Representatives Jennifer Wexton (VA-10), Marie Newman (D-IL-03), and Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) led 62 of their colleagues in a resolution to commemorate Nov. 20 as Transgender Day of Remembrance, an annual observance to remember the lives lost at the hands of anti-transgender violence. As the Co-Chairs of the LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus’ Transgender Equality Task Force, today’s resolution builds on the representatives’ ongoing efforts to amplify transgender issues in Congress.

"We have a crisis of anti-transgender violence that cannot be overlooked or ignored. At least 47 transgender or gender non-conforming people have been killed this year -- the deadliest on record -- and the victims are disproportionately trans women of color," said Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton. "Our trans friends and neighbors face greater threats of violence, bullying, and discrimination in nearly every aspect of their lives, and they deserve justice and equality. I'm proud to join my co-chairs of the Transgender Equality Task Force, Reps. Newman and Jayapal, to introduce this resolution honoring the 47 lives we've lost and reaffirming our fight for trans rights and trans lives."

“With at least 47 fatalities so far this year, 2021 is already the most violent year on record against transgender Americans since the Human Rights Campaign began tracking these crimes in 2013. Violence against transgender Americans, particularly Black and Brown transgender women, has become a national epidemic and we cannot allow ourselves to turn a blind eye towards this gross injustice,” said Congresswoman Newman. “With this resolution, we are not only recognizing the far too many souls lost to violence this year but also honoring their memory with a commitment to fight against anti-trans hate, rhetoric and violence. Transgender Americans face hateful and disgusting attacks - verbal and physical - every single day just for simply existing in the world, and each of us has a fundamental obligation to speak out against it.”

“We must not only remember and say the names of the transgender individuals and transgender women of color who had their beautiful lives taken by anti-trans violence, but we must also honor them with action – organizing to end these cruel attacks once and for all," said Congresswoman Jayapal. "Our resolution acknowledges this truth as we continue our dedicated work to strengthen hate crime laws, pass the Equality Act through the Senate, and ensure that every transgender person is able to live freely as themselves. As the proud parent of an incredible trans kid, I want every LGBTQ+ person out there to know that I hear you, I see you, I appreciate you, and I will never stop fighting for you.”

In the months following the still-unsolved murder of Rita Hester, a transgender woman of color, in 1998, activist Gwendolyn Ann Smith marked November 20, 1999, as the first Transgender Day of Remembrance, to honor Hester and other transgender people whose lives were lost to violence. Since then, the day has been observed across the nation and around the world to pay respects to transgender people whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence.

“As we mark Transgender Day of Remembrance 2021, we are faced with the brutal fact that this has been the deadliest year on record for transgender individuals with at least 47 people violently murdered for simply being who they are. To honor all these lives lost, we must act. This resolution from Representatives Jayapal, Newman, and Wexton is how Congress can begin to show the transgender community that we stand with them,” said Congressman David N. Cicilline (RI-01), Chair of the Congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus. “The House passed the Equality Act in February – the Senate needs to do the same.”

In 2020, at least 44 transgender Americans were violently killed. On November 4, the death of Marquiisha Lawrence, a Black transgender woman from South Carolina, brought a new and tragic milestone, marking 2021 as the deadliest year on record for transgender killings. Due to the prevalence of under- and mis-reporting fatal violence against transgender Americans, many believe these figures are far higher.

Founded in 2008, the mission of the Congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus is to promote equality for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. The Caucus, which is led by the nine openly LGBTQ+ members of the House of Representatives, is strongly committed to achieving the full enjoyment of human rights for LGBTQ+ people in the U.S. and around the world.