Local Events and Resources Honoring Transgender Day of Remembrance

Written by Clarity Amrein, Community Content Coordinator, Genealogy & Local History Department, Downtown Main Library 

Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoR) is Saturday, Nov. 20. Started by transgender advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith in 1999 to honor the life of Rita Hester, Transgender Day of Remembrance, opens a new window is an annual event that commemorates transgender people lost to violence. It also is a time to amplify and recognize the challenges transgender people face. 

Cincinnati Transgender Advocacy Council (TAC) Hosts Annual Event 

The Transgender Advocacy Council (TAC), opens a new window is a nonprofit organization that supports transgender, nonbinary, and genderqueer people in Greater Cincinnati through events, support groups, and mutual aid. TAC is virtually hosting its annual vigil and community event honoring the lives of transgender people lost to violence from 1-3 p.m. this Saturday, Nov. 20.  

Cathy Allison, secretary of TAC, remembers how the TDoR vigil began in Cincinnati.  

“The first Transgender Day of Remembrance vigil was held in 2008 by the Greater Cincinnati Human Rights Campaign and New Spirit Metropolitan Community Church. There has been a vigil held every year since then, although 2020 and 2021 have been held virtually,” she said. 

“I first got involved with the Transgender Day of Remembrance in 2019. That year there had been 21 transgender and gender non-conforming people killed in the United States in the previous 12 months. In 2020, the number killed in this country had jumped to 40, and in 2021 the number killed in the last 12 months has jumped to 51,” said Allison. 

“Cincinnati is not immune from the violence against trans folx. One of those killed this year was 23-year-old Kyree Sanders, also known as Diamond Nicole, a Black transgender woman who was fatally shot in Clifton in March. In June 2020, 25-year-old Riah Milton, a Black transgender woman, was fatally shot in Liberty Township,” Allison said. 

The virtual vigil honors the lives of those lost in Cincinnati and across the U.S.

Community Organizations Commemorate TDoR 

  • Local burlesque, drag, and arts collective Smoke & Queers Burlesque Troupe, opens a new window is hosting an event, opens a new window at trans-owned art gallery Rainbow Cincinnati, opens a new window in Northside at 6 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 21. It features a film screening, trans artists and speakers, poetry, and performances to honor TDoR, including artist Jay Defazio. Jay Defazio shared his work at the Price Hill Branch earlier this year with the art exhibit InsideOut: An Affirming Epiphany. The exhibit featured self-portraits by transgender individuals with accompanying responsive poems by Greater Cincinnati poets. He is speaking about his work at the Nov. 21 event. 

Education and Shared Experiences at CHPL 

The Cincinnati & Hamilton County Public Library’s LGBTQIA+ work group serves our local community through library services and resources. Visit the Library’s LGBTQIA+ resources, opens a new window section to find support groups, LGBTQIA+ community organizations, and videos including Pride storytimes, opens a new window hosted by CHPL staff. The section also features an anonymous reference tool, Queer Gabby, opens a new window, where anyone is welcome to ask questions about the Library’s materials and local services.  

Check out book and media lists, opens a new window created by CHPL staff with recommended books, graphic novels, podcasts, and more to reflect on TDoR.