Biden marks Trans Day of Remembrance: “We must never be silent in the face of hate”

President Biden honored transgender Americans on Trans Day of Remembrance, which falls on Nov. 20 each year and serves to pay tribute to trans people who have lost their lives to violence.

“Today, on Transgender Day of Remembrance we are reminded that there is more to do [to] meet that promise, as we grieve the 26 transgender Americans whose lives were taken this year,” Mr. Biden said in a statement Monday.

“While each one of these deaths is a tragedy – the true toll of those victimized is likely even higher, with the majority of those targeted being women of color,” Mr. Biden said.

A report released Monday by the Human Rights Campaign serves to shine a light on what the LGBTQ+ organization called an “epidemic of violence” against the trans and gender non-conforming community in the U.S. — one that especially impacts transgender women and transgender people of color, who the report said “are at elevated risk of fatal violence.”

“The risk is compounded for Black transgender women, who comprise the vast majority of victims of fatal violence against trans and gender non-conforming people,” the report stated. 

In a separate statement, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the U.S. affirms “the humanity and human rights of transgender persons globally.”

“Trans individuals are a part of every country, every culture, and every faith tradition,” Blinken said.

People against the transgender notification policy protest outside the Orange Unified School District meeting in Orange, California, on September 7, 2023.
People against the transgender notification policy protest outside the Orange Unified School District meeting in Orange, California, on September 7, 2023.

Leonard Ortiz/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images

Earlier this year, the HRC declared a “state of emergency” for LGBTQ+ Americans for the first time in its 40-year history. The organization pointed to record numbers of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation being introduced across the country, with over 220 specifically targeting trans people, including attempts to limit access to sports teams, restrooms, locker rooms, gender-affirming care and inclusive school curricula. 

Between Oct. 2022 and Sept. 2023, over 300 trans and gender-diverse people around the world were reported murdered, according to data compiled by nonprofit Transgender Europe.

“It is everyone’s responsibility to ensure trans persons can live full lives of dignity, without fear of violence or harm,” Blinken said, adding, “Until then, we will continue to speak loudly and clearly to end transphobic violence and homicide.”

Despite hostile legislation and heated political division over trans rights issues, research indicates that young people are increasingly identifying as trans and seeing themselves reflected positively in culture.

“We must never be silent in the face of hate,” Mr. Biden said, urging that we “recommit ourselves to never stop fighting until all Americans can live free from discrimination.”

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