Let’s talk about Transgender Awareness Week!

It’s that time of year again when we come together to celebrate, advocate, and educate about all things transgender. Yes, you guessed it right – it’s Transgender Awareness Week from November 13th to November 19th.

A little history lesson

In 1999, trans champion Gwendolyn Ann Smith started this annual observance. But trans awareness week began as a solemn vigil in memory of Rita Hester, a transgender sister we tragically lost in 1998.

Remembering Rita and countless others like her, Gwendolyn decided that enough was enough! And just like that, Transgender Awareness Week was born – a beacon of hope shining light on the violence and challenges faced by our transgender siblings.

Fast forward to today, and this week has become a global phenomenon—and is even beginning to be observed as a whole Transgender Awareness Month in November.

What’s it all about?

If you’re asking this question, honey, you’re in the right place at the right time! Transgender Awareness Week is like a crash course in Trans 101. It’s our opportunity to understand what it means to be transgender, explore unique transgender experiences, and learn about the challenges trans individuals face.

In an interview with NBC News, Gwendolyn Ann Smith reflected on the tragedy and erasure faced by trans folks. However, she also highlighted the progress made through sharing stories and building awareness during Transgender Awareness Week.

“…It also strengthens my resolve that this information needs to be out there, and we need to keep fighting. I’m not going to let these people erase me or erase my community.”

In 2023 alone, the Trans Legislation Tracker has documented more than 580 anti-trans bills in 49 states, with 85 of them already passed into law.

In short, Trans Awareness Week is all about fostering empathy, challenging prejudice, and making our world a more inclusive place.

What can you do?

Transgender Awareness Week is not just about understanding; it’s about taking action. Here are some resources to help get you started:

  1. Educate Yourself at GLAAD: This organization offers resources to help you learn more about transgender awareness week, transgender issues in general, and ways to get involved.
  2. Read and Share Stories from the National Center for Transgender Equality: Here, you can find personal stories from transgender individuals, which can be a powerful way to increase understanding and empathy.
  3. Get Involved Locally with PFLAG: This organization has local chapters across the country that offer opportunities to engage with the community and support transgender rights.
  4. Donate to Trans Lifeline: This is a trans-led organization that connects trans people to the community, support, and resources they need to survive and thrive. Donations help keep their important services running.
  5. Fly the Trans Flag: Show your support by flying the trans flag during Transgender Awareness Week (and always).

P.S., Don’t forget about Transgender Day of Remembrance on November 20th

Falling on November 20th, the Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) honors the memory of our transgender siblings lost to anti-transgender violence. Participate by attending or organizing a community vigil.

Remember, this day is about more than just mourning; it’s also about taking action to end violence and create change.

Let’s make this Transgender Awareness Week count by learning, loving, taking action, and lifting each other up.

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