On November 20, 2021, closing the weeklong observation of Trans Awareness Week, the world will honor the lives and humanity of all trans, non-binary, and gender non-conforming (TNBGNC) people. This marks the 23rd observance of Trans Day of Remembrance, which was sparked by the brutal murder of Rita Hester in 1998. Trans Day of Resilience emerged from a 2015 call from BreakOUT! to celebrate trans individuals by acknowledging that their very existences are acts of resistance, power, and courage. Despite both commemorations, trans and gender non-conforming people continue to experience multiple forms of violence at alarming rates. This year, the Center for Constitutional Rights is expanding our own commitment to the trans community by supporting mutual aid to disproportionately impacted Black and Brown trans people in the South.
Trans people, particularly Black trans people, regularly face everything from physical to economic violence. Since last year’s TDoR commemoration, at least 46 trans, non-binary, or gender non-conforming people were murdered in the United States and its colonies—most of them Black or Latinx, and at least 375 were killed around the world, making 2021 the deadliest year on record for trans people in the United States and around the world. The killings of trans people, which are often underreported, are a direct consequence of rampant and escalating transphobia.
Violence against trans, non-binary, and gender non-conforming people is not limited to the interpersonal. Right now, across the United States, there are 102 pieces of legislation (nearly half of which are in Texas alone) attempting to legislate transgender people out of existence by denying them participation in school and recreation, stalling or refusing access to healthcare and life-saving medical treatment, and withdrawing other basic forms of human and civil rights. It is for this reason that awareness and visibility are not enough, and they must be coupled with proportional respect, dignity, and protection on the individual, community, and institutional level.
In the U.S., trans and nonbinary people also experience transphobia, interpersonal and institutional violence, and state-sponsored discrimination that result in disparate socioeconomic hardship, as evidenced by the fact that they comprise 1 percent of the population but are 14 percent more likely to live in poverty than their cisgender counterparts. The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated negative economic and health impacts for the trans community due to lack of insurance access and reduced work hours or unemployment. In addition, it is suspected that the pandemic has intensified the oppression of trans people via housing instability, mental health concerns, and inaccessibility to gender-affirming surgeries and hormone therapies. For Black and Brown trans and gender non-conforming people, the criminal legal system has magnified issues by through imprisonment, dehumanization, and assault.
The rampant discrimination against and oppression of trans, non-binary, and gender non-conforming people is inexcusable and unacceptable. At the Center for Constitutional Rights, we are committed to supporting the trans community via legal and advocacy efforts. We will continue to zealously defend clients like Ashley Diamond, a Black trans woman and prisoners’ rights activist from Rome, Georgia, whose landmark case Diamond v. Ward, et al challenges the cruel and unusual treatment of incarcerated trans people by the Georgia Department of Corrections.
The Center for Constitutional Rights is expanding the range of tactics we utilize to support the trans community. Today, we are making a small contribution to our partners at TRANScending Barriers Atlanta who are distributing mutual aid grants to individual trans community members in the South and asking you to do the same. We fundamentally believe that communities best know what they need and how to advocate for themselves, and on Trans Day of Remembrance/Trans Day of Resilience we are honored to support TRANScending Barriers. Will you join us?
Please donate here so that our partners can continue and expand their life-affirming work!
About TRANScending Barriers Atlanta:
Our mission is to empower the transgender and gender non-conforming community in Georgia through community organizing with leadership building, advocacy, and direct services so that lives can be changed and our community is uplifted.
We advocate for and empower the transgender and gender non-conforming community in Georgia to uplift the community through holistic healing, harm reduction from the Prison Industrial Complex, and leadership development.