Nov. 20 is Transgender Day of Remembrance, an annual event celebrating and honoring people who lost their lives due to violence against the transgender community.
Vigils will be held in Tampa and St. Petersburg as part of the remembrance, including the reading of a mayoral proclamation during the St. Petersburg ceremony.
Transgender Day of Remembrance was started in 1998 by transgender activist Gwendolyn Ann Smith to honor the memory of Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was killed that year. Her murder remains unsolved.
Despite increased visibility in culture and media, members of the transgender community struggle against discrimination and are victims of targeted violent acts, according to the Human Rights Campaign. In 2018, Florida led the country in violent deaths of transgender people. In September of this year, black transgender woman Bee Love Slater was found burned to death in Clewiston.
Under current Florida law, transgender people are not protected against discrimination, and violence against them doesn’t fall under the state’s hate crime laws.
Here’s where you can participate in today’s Transgender Day of Remembrance vigils.
Where: Metro LGBTQ Welcome Center, 2227 Central Ave.
When: 7-8 p.m.
Where: James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital, 13000 Bruce B Downs Blvd.
When: 4:30-5:30 p.m.