Transgender Day of Remembrance was founded in 1999 by transgender advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith as a vigil to honor the memory of Rita Hester, an African American transgender woman who was murdered in 1998. The vigil commemorated the lives of transgender and gender-variant people since Rita Hester’s death and launched the commemoration into an annual U.S. and international observance. Transgender Day of Remembrance brings attention to the microaggressions, discrimination and violence that transgender and gender-variant people face on a daily basis, including transgender people of color in general and Black transgender people in particular, who experience transphobia, systemic oppression and deadly violence at disproportionate rates.
WSU Vancouver is in solidarity with Transgender Day of Remembrance. WSU Vancouver is committed to building a campus community where transgender and gender-variant students, staff, faculty and external partners are supported, welcomed and loved not despite their multiple social identities, but because of them. WSU Vancouver's commitment to social justice and dismantling the status quo is reinforced by its strategic imperative to embed inclusion, equity and diversity in all aspects of campus endeavors. Several campus units, councils and organizations assist in this effort, including CILA, BaCE Program, Collective for Social and Environmental Justice, CEDI, Student Wellness Center, and Office of Equity and Diversity, to name a few.
On Transgender Day of Remembrance, WSU Vancouver flies the Transgender Flag at half-mast and holds space to acknowledge the lives of individuals from across the transgender and gender-variant spectrum; especially Black, Brown and Indigenous transgender people, who have been at the forefront of the quest to amplify voices and normalize presence of all transgender and gender-variant people and communities.
Throughout Transgender Day of Remembrance and beyond, WSU Vancouver advocates equity, inclusion, justice, visibility, safety and empowerment for transgender and gender-variant people and communities. You matter here. You are welcomed here. You belong here.