Transgender Awareness Week
Transgender Awareness Week is celebrated every year from November 13 to November 19 as a way to raise awareness, visibility, and understanding about transgender people and the issues they face in the LGBTQIA+ community. The last day of Trans Awareness Week is the 20th of November, which is marked as Transgender Day of Remembrance. It is an observance day to honor the lives of transgender people lost because of anti-transgender violence and hate crimes.
During this week, transgender people and their allies take the opportunity to show their support and educate others about trans people, the transgender issues and discrimination they face daily, and how this prejudice and violence affects the LGBTQIA+ and trans community. They advocate for equality and share their own stories and experiences. It is a safe space for the voices of transgender people and other gender-expansive people to be heard.
It is an important tradition as it promotes transgender awareness and transgender representation in media.
Transgender Awareness Week serves as a way of educating people and as a celebration of important moments and people in transgender history. There have been many events throughout history that served in the education of people worldwide, helped raise advocacy and awareness, and brought essential trans issues to light.
Michael Dillon was the first transgender man to undergo a series of phalloplasty operations from 1946. Christine Jorgensen was an American citizen and the first transgender woman to openly undergo gender reassignment surgery in 1952.
In 1964, the Erickson Educational Foundation was established by the transgender man Reed Erickson and donated millions to promote equality for the transgender community. Or in 1972, when Sweden was the first country to legalize gender reassignment surgery.
Trans Awareness Week 2019 celebrated Danica Roem, an openly trans woman and the first trans person to be reelected for the American state legislature.
Another critical historical moment is November 28, 1998. On this day, Rita Hester was murdered for her gender identity.
Transgender Day of Remembrance
Rita Hester's death in 1998 gave transgender activist and writer Gwendolyn Ann Smith the inspiration to start the first Transgender Day of Remembrance. During the first Transgender Day of Remembrance, a vigil was held in honor of Hester to commemorate all the lives lost due to their gender expression since Hester's death.
Transgender Day of Remembrance aids in the fight for all the transgender people in the LGBTQIA+ community to be given the right to exist without the fear of discriminatory violence against them. That was first and foremost in Smith's mind in creating this observance day.
Advocates, school students, victims, organizations, and many other members of communities all around the world come together each year to hold candle-lit vigils. These vigils honor the memories of the transgender women and men lost to stigma and discrimination in previous years.
How To Celebrate
Become A Better Ally
An excellent way to celebrate Trans Awareness Week is to become a better ally and supporter of the transgender community. There is a multitude of resources available online that allies can use to educate themselves and their peers about transgender issues.
MermaidsUK has a downloadable toolkit available on their site, which may help you celebrate and become a better ally.
Similarly, Minus18 also has a downloadable toolkit available online. In addition, they also host a training session for transgender allies who wish to become better educated.
Join or Host an Event
There are many events hosted each year for Transgender Awareness Week. Most of these events focus on the education of the public and raising awareness. One way to celebrate Trans Awareness Week is to host or participate in such an event.
An excellent way to do that is by hosting or attending a screening event and joining the community in watching a transgender-themed documentary. For example, the high-rated documentary "Disclosure" was aired through Netflix in 2020. It showcases the effect that Hollywood has on society and the transgender community. Another highly rated documentary that came out in 2020 is "No Ordinary Man" and follows the life of icon Billy Tipton. This documentary was nominated for a Queerty Award in 2022.
On the 20th of November, for Transgender Day of Remembrance, many people host vigils for their fallen members. More and more people join in these each year.
Participants of Transgender Awareness Week also like to come together to talk together, share, and discuss their experiences in the Transgender and LGBTQIA+ community.
Get Involved In Charity
Another great way to get involved in the transgender community, and celebrate Transgender Awareness Week, is through charitable giving.
GLAAD is a leading media force that helps raise awareness and tackle tough issues in the LGBTQIA+ community. They are significantly involved in Trans Awareness Week and would be a great organization to donate to. Another organization very worthy of receiving donations is the National Center of Transgender Equality.
Transgender Awareness Week FAQs
When is the international Transgender Day of Visibility?
TDOV occurs annually on 31 March, to celebrate people in the transgender community and raise awareness about the discrimination they face. It was created by Rachel Crandall, a transgender activist.