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We Remember. Transgender Day of Remembrance. An Organizer's Tool Kit.

How Can I Help?


Taking Transgender Women of Color Seriously

by Angelica Ross

Too often Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) events appropriate the stories of transgender women of color without having any real stake in reaching out to and serving transgender women of color—who, as a group, are most vulnerable to anti-transgender violence, harassment, and discrimination. 

Here are 5 things you can do as you plan your Transgender Day of Remembrance service to take transgender women of color seriously—and to prevent violence against us.

1) Reach Out

Take it to the streets and reach out! In many cities social services, programs, and LGBT religious organizations are located in areas where there are not many people of color. Be innovative in finding ways to bring your programing and services to places where trans women of color will see you and benefit from what you do. Rainbow stickers and symbols are not enough to reach out to transgender women and communicate to them that they are welcome. You may need to go out of your way to empower real connections.

  • On Transgender Day of Remembrance, how will transgender women of color even find out about your efforts?
  • Is it realistic for us to reach your venue?
  • Will we be subject to street harassment or suspicion if we come to the service?

2) Be more than an ally...

Be a friend. In other words, build real relationships. The world is a better place when you’ve got friends. As a friend, you enter into someone’s life and can make a difference on the good days and the bad ones. Many transgender women of color have lost loved ones to anti-transgender violence. Others of us fear that violence in our lives on a daily basis and are vulnerable because we are so isolated from social support.

  • Will your Transgender Day of Remembrance observance create opportunities for new relationships to be formed?
  • Will you move beyond remembering our deaths towards being a part of our lives?
  • How will you express your support to people who are hurting right now in your neighborhood or region?

3) Extend Your Privilege

Extending your privilege is all about checking the temperature of any space you are in, especially public spaces, and using the power, or access, or comfort you personally have to decrease the pain that another person might experience in that space and increase their agency. Think of (or learn about) the many social activities or basic tasks that may be challenging for transgender women of color—and find a way to extend your privilege to make things a little less challenging.

  • Do you know what your community is really like for transgender people and transgender women of color in particular?
  • How will your Transgender Day of Remembrance observance provide strength and solidarity for those who are most vulnerable?
  • What local resources need to be represented in order for participants to feel some sense of comfort and safety?

4) Raise Awareness

The easiest way to raise awareness is to know the facts, and share that knowledge. Educate yourself and others around you about what laws and policies in your area target or support transgender citizens. Join existing efforts to address incidents and patterns of harassment and violence in your area.

  • Do you know which of the names on current and past Transgender Day of Remembrance lists had connections in your area?
  • Do you know about the unsolved crimes from years past?
  • Are you working with survivors of street harassment, sexual assault, and police profiling?
  • Are you involved in efforts to raise awareness, create safety, and seek justice in these cases?

5) Love as an ACTION

Transgender Day of Remembrance is a chance to show love, but it needs to be love in action. Challenge your fears and have the courage to move beyond your comfort zone to allow other voices to be heard.

  • At your Transgender Day of Remembrance observance, are you honoring the leadership of transgender women of color in your area?
  • Are you inviting transgender women of color to share our stories of loss or survival?
  • Are you supporting transgender women of color to move into new kinds of strength and empowerment?


Transgender Day of Remembrance is a day for stories to be told and scripts to be rewritten. It’s a chance to reach out and come together against the dehumanizing violence that haunts our communities. Love is a call as well as a response, but most of all love is an action.

How will your Transgender Day of Remembrance express love in action towards those who are most vulnerable to anti-transgender violence?


Angelica Ross is an artist as well as a coach and trainer in personal and professional development with Chicago House and the new TransLife Center


Home (TDOR Toolkit)
10 Things About TDOR
Critical Questions
Taking Us Seriously
The Role of Religion
Four Reasons NOT|  to host TDOR
Claiming Our Mourning,|  Claiming Our Resistance
More Resources:
Sample Services
The Names

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