Public Advocate Introduces Resolution to Recognize Transgender Days of Remembrance and Visibility in New York City
NEW YORK: Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams introduced a resolution in the City Council today that would recognize Transgender Day of Remembrance, November 20, and Transgender Day of Visibility, March 31, as holidays within the City of New York. Both Transgender Day of Remembrance and Transgender Day of Visibility are marked around the country, and specifically in New York, with vigils, protests, forums, and other actions and events, but the days are not currently formally recognized by the city.
“The transgender community, particularly trans women of more color, are in a state of crisis, in our city and across the country. This constant struggle against systemic violence and oppression demands acknowledgment and action.” said Public Advocate Williams in introducing the resolution. “The city government has a responsibility to stand with a community so often marginalized, to elevate people so often pushed down, to hear and speak to the pain and loss faced by transgender individuals in our city and work to upend the system that tacitly permits it. Recognizing these days is not a solution, but it is a step and a call to action for every other day, that our work must be to advocate and create opportunities for TGNC New Yorkers.”
Transgender Day of Remembrance originated in 1999 when transgender advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith held a vigil to honor the memory of Rita Hester, a well-known Black trans woman in Boston’s trans and Black LGBTQ+ communities, who was brutally murdered the previous year. Today, the day is commemorated to honor the memory of trans and gender nonconforming people who have lost their lives in acts of anti-trans violence.
A decade later, in response to the lack of positive recognition of trans people, trans activist Rachel Crandall started the International Transgender Day of Visibility to bring trans and gender nonconforming (TGNC) people together, celebrate their contributions to society, and raise awareness about discrimination faced by TGNC individuals.
Resolution 1487, and further recognition of these days of observance, would encourage people to prioritize inclusivity and equity with regard to TGNC New Yorkers and call attention to issues of systemic biases and individual transphobia. It would emphasize the need for specific and meaningful action by government to address the needs of the TGNC community.
New York State is home to more than 50,000 trans people, based on information from a June 2016 Williams Institute report. Trans people face systemic obstacles in employment, healthcare, housing, and many other areas of life, as well as disproportionate, entrenched, and targeted violence. According to the Human Rights Campaign, at least 34 trans or gender nonconforming people, the majority of whom were Black and Latinx, have been murdered in 2020, which is the highest number of deaths ever recorded.