The following article is an outside contribution written by senior Savannah Lynn on behalf of Duke's Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity.
Monday, November 20th marks the 18th annual Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoR). The event was created in response to the murder of Rita Hester, a transgender woman, on November 28, 1998. Rita’s murder, like so many other murders of transgender and gender-nonconforming people, remains unsolved (source). TDoR provides a space for public mourning of lives snuffed out due to transphobia and anti-transgender violence. It reminds us all of the work we have left to do. Currently, the Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity in Duke’s Bryan Center will convert its front window in a memorial for those in the United States who are no longer with us. Anyone is welcome to come by to pay respects.
It is important, during this time of mourning, to lift up the voices of survivors as we honor the dead. The LGBTQ Center of Durham and Duke’s Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity will be hosting an evening tea with CeCe McDonald on Sunday, November 19 from 7:00-8:30pm at The Vault at The Palace International. McDonald, co-founder of the Black Excellent Collective, has traveled across the country after surviving a brutal transphobic and white supremacist attack. She tells her story and provokes dialogue about the personal and political implications of being black and transgender. McDonald fosters conversations around sexuality, violence, and mass incarceration. Food and tea provided; more details can be found here.
On TDoR, several vigils will be taking place around the Triangle, for those who wish to show their support and share grief in communion. The LGBTQ Center of Durham, along with the Duke CSGD, CeCe McDonald, and NC Trans POC Leadership, will be holding a vigil and brief march on Monday, November 20th, from 6:00-8:00pm. Details here. The LGBT Center of Raleigh will be holding a candlelight vigil which will be located on the grounds of the state Capitol Building from 6:00-9:00 PM, also on Monday, November 20th. Details for that vigil can be found here.
This is also a time for those who want to be allies to transgender and gender-nonconforming people to engage in self-reflection and education. The Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity is holding an open Trans 101 training on November 28th, from 4:30-6:30 PM; to register, click here. Trans 101 is designed to introduce participants to the realities of cissexism and transphobia, at Duke and beyond it. Above all, this Transgender Day of Remembrance and Resilience, we must all take care of ourselves and each other as we work to end anti-trans violence everywhere.
Lastly, members of the Duke community are invited to a lunch discussion with McDonald at 12pm on Monday, November 20th in the Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity.