2021 City of Richmond Transgender Day of Remembrance
The City of Richmond honored the Transgender Day of Remembrance on Thursday, November 18, with a flag-raising ceremony in front of City Hall. The commemorative event was hosted by Cesar Zepeda of Richmond Rainbow Pride, and guest speakers included Carolyn Wysinger and Suzanne Ford of San Francisco Pride and Richmond City Councilmembers Eduardo Martinez and Claudia Jimenez.
This flag-raising ceremony occurred in the context of the deadliest year on record in the United States for transgender and gender non-conforming people, according to a study by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). The HRC notes, “These disturbing numbers likely underreport deadly violence targeting transgender and gender non-confirming people, who may not be properly identified as transgender or gender non-conforming by police, media or other sources.”
The annual Transgender Day of Remembrance was established 1999 by transgender advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith. This important tradition was originally created to honor Rita Hester, a transgender woman killed in 1998. The commemorative day, first observed with a vigil in 1999, also honored all transgender people lost to violence since Rita Hester's death.
November 20 was officially recognized as Transgender Day of Remembrance in the City of Richmond in November of last year. The official proclamation states,
Our communities are impacted when we lose any community member prematurely, whether due to direct anti-transgender violence, suicide, or other health effects resulting from trauma or discrimination.
The City of Richmond recognizes the impact of the greater transgender community’s activism across the United States, including the Compton Cafeteria Riots of 1966, the Stonewall Riots of 1969, the New York Supreme Court ruling in favor of Renee Richards in 1977, the awareness built surrounding the murder of Brandon Teena in 1993, and the amendment to the federal Equal Employment Opportunity statement to include protections for transgender individuals in 2010. The City of Richmond honors the bravery and resilience of the transgender individuals who live, work, or play in their authentic gender, and although we are proud of the existing protections we have in place for transgender individuals to pursue their lives free from discrimination in the San Francisco Bay Area, we reaffirm our commitment to ongoing efforts to promote full inclusion of transgender individuals in Richmond.