A resident places a flower on a memorial for Sasha Mason, a 45-year-old transgender woman killed in Zebulon, North Carolina, on Nov. 20, 2022, at a Transgender Day of Remembrance vigil in Raleigh, North Carolina. Credit: Hannah Schoenbaum / AP

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I am calling out to communities across Maine to draw attention to a crucial and somber day in the LGBTQ+ calendar: Transgender Day of Remembrance, observed annually on Nov. 20. While celebrations and moments of visibility and pride are essential, it is equally imperative that we take the time to remember and honor those transgender individuals who have tragically lost their lives to transphobic violence and prejudice both here in the United States and across the globe.

Every year, countless transgender people become victims of horrific hate crimes, simply because of their gender identity. Behind each statistic lies a human being with dreams, aspirations, loved ones, and a life full of potential that was cut short. Transgender Day of Remembrance stands as a stark reminder of this grim reality. By openly discussing Transgender Day of Remembrance, we aim to remember those who have been unjustly taken from us and give space for collective grief. It’s essential to spread awareness about the systemic and pervasive nature of transphobia, seen even here in Maine with a growing number of proposed anti-trans bills coming before lawmakers each year.

Many remain unaware of the scale and severity of violence faced by transgender people, especially transgender women of color. This day can be an educational tool to shed light on these atrocities. By recognizing this day, we also send an urgent plea for change. We must rally together to demand stricter hate crime legislation, improved support systems for transgender individuals and more inclusive societal structures. By remembering together, we strengthen our bonds of solidarity, not just within the LGBTQ+ community, but with allies and the broader society.

I urge us all to recognize Transgender Day of Remembrance prominently. Through our shared support and advocacy, we send a powerful message: that every life is precious, and we stand unwaveringly against hatred and bigotry. Let us ensure that the sacrifices of those we’ve lost are never in vain, but instead serve as a beacon guiding us towards a more compassionate future.

Chris McLaughlin

Executive director

Maine Chapter

National Association of Social Workers