Across the world, November 20th marks the international occasion for Transgender Day of Remembrance.
This day was founded by a small group in 1999 to remember the deaths of two women named Rita Hester and Chanelle Pickett, who were killed in Massachusetts for simply being trans.
Back in 1999, the two trans women’s deaths were remembered in ceremonies in Boston and San Francisco — now, 24-years-later, the day is observed around the globe.
At 8 a.m. on Monday, November 20th, Premier David Eby and Kelli Paddon, Parliamentary Secretary for Gender Equity issued a statement in honour of Transgender Day of Remembrance.
“Today, we join people in BC and around the world in remembering the transgender, gender-diverse, non-binary and Two-Spirit people who have been killed in acts of violence and those who have taken their own lives due to a lack of support and acceptance,” they said.
“We also recommit to ending transphobia and supporting members of the trans community by taking actions to make life safer for everyone.”
“There is no place for transphobia in our province. We continue to speak up against hate and to support our transgender, gender-diverse, non-binary and Two-Spirit friends, family members, neighbours and colleagues. All people deserve to live their lives knowing they are safe and loved. This is the British Columbia that we strive for and believe is possible.”
They brought attention in their statement to the fact that BC is one of the first provinces to amend provincial laws to remove outdated gendered and binary language, and one of the first provinces to make it possible for people to get birth certificates without gender markers.
“We also continue to support education that promotes safe, caring and inclusive schools to ensure students learn to value diversity and everyone feels like they belong,” they continued.
“Everyone has a responsibility to condemn transphobic violence, and everyone has a right to be their true self without fear. We will continue to work hard to ensure this is the reality for all transgender, gender-diverse, non-binary and Two-Spirit people in our province.”
BC was the first province to raise the transgender flag on the lawn of the legislature and will say they will continue to do so out of respect and honour for those who have lost their lives.
According to Transrespect vs Transphobia, a worldwide trans advocacy group, 321 trans people were reported murdered between October 2022 and September 2023.
Many more than that took their own lives due to a lack of support and affirmation over the last year.