Twenty-five in 2019. Thirty-seven in 2020. Forty-six in 2021, so far. Each year more trans lives are lost to violence; the Human Rights Campaign reports these numbers in the U.S. alone. Trans Day of Remembrance on Nov. 20 serves as a memorial to the community, a time to honor those who have been targeted for their existence.
MOSAIC and the LGBTQ+ Resource Center marked the beginning of Trans Week of Remembrance on Nov. 15. LGBTQ+. Resource Coordinator DeJae Spears said the week is to promote self-advocacy and educational resources to students.
“Trans Day of Remembrance is a national recognition, really to remember the lives of trans, gender non-conforming, [and] two-spirit individuals who have lost their lives to gender-based violence, specifically violence against trans folks,” Spears said.
Referring to the HRC’s data on violence against trans people, they said, “It’s just been increasing. So this day [TDOR] is really to just bring awareness to the violence that happens to trans folks, most often trans women of color as well.”
The decision to commemorate TDOR as a week this year came from Spears’ experience in past institutions and their belief in creating space for grief and education.
“You can’t really sum up a lot of the tragedies that happen in just one day. I think part of this is building up the time for folks to get educated on it and for folks to go through a mourning process if that is what they need. … 40-some-odd folks have lost their lives because of who they are. That shouldn’t be summed up to just one day, it should be an everyday thing,” Spears said.
In the campus setting, remembering the people who have been lost to anti-trans violence is both personal and an act of solidarity, according to Spears.
“Death of trans people in general affects all trans people, because ultimately we are a really big community but we’re also a very small community,” they said. “I know myself, coming from California, there have been a couple folks on this list here who are also from California in the areas that I’ve been in. I always think, ‘oh, our community is so small, I’m sure I know people who are friends with you or who are your family,’ and things like that.”
Spears said, “We are participating in like a national level in terms of recognition. I think in terms of impact, people within the trans community already kind of have an understanding of the violence that we face in everyday society. It’s other folks who don’t really have as much awareness.”
Spears also discussed plans to set up a display and posters in the UC, as well as discussions and club meetings that tie into the week’s programming. This included a Pronouns 101 discussion held on Nov. 17, and regular club meetings by Spectrum and QTPOC.
“One that I’m excited about is just a discussion titled ‘What’s in a name?’ I’m just very proud of that. I think, the more that I have talked to people across identities, not just within the trans community but for trans folks, nonbinary folks, indigenous people, people of color specifically — we often have to fight for our names to be used correctly, pronounced correctly and recognized in general,” Spears said.
“So I just wanted to create a space where folks can have conversations about, you know, if you named yourself, what’s the meaning behind your name, how did you kind of come through that process? I know I went through a couple before I settled on my name right now,” they said.
Spears outlined that a goal of this discussion was to prepare students to advocate for themselves and assert boundaries for others to respect when it comes to names.
“I think since it’s kind of like my first year within UCCS … I’m really trying to just gauge where students are at in terms of what they want to see in the MOSAIC,” they added. “I would hope to be able to create more volunteer opportunities in the future for students to get more engaged with the office.”