November 20th marks the 15th annual Transgender Day of Remembrance when people from all across the globe pause to remember those who have lost their lives to anti-transgender violence. Transgender women particularly transgender women of color are disproportionately subjected to hate violence. According to the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs 44% of all LGBT murder victims in 2010 were transgender women. Actress Laverne Cox who stars in “Orange is the New Black” stated, “When we celebrate Transgender Day of Remembrance today, as we mourn I want to charge each & every one of you to find ways you can resist & raise awareness in your own lives to make the lives of trans people better & to create more gender self-determination & gender freedom for yourselves.” Cox is the first trans woman of color to have a leading role on a mainstream scripted TV show. Transgender Day of Remembrance marks the end of Transgender Awareness Week, a national campaign to raise visibility & awareness of transgender people & issues, which began November 12th. Transgender Day of Remembrance was founded in 1998 by graphic designer, columnist & activist Gwendolyn Ann Smith, a trans woman to memorialize the murder of Rita Hester in Allston, Massachusetts. Since its inception it has been held annually on Nov. 20th & has evolved from the web-based project started by Smith into an international day of action.
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