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Things We Saw Today: President-Elect Joe Biden Honors Transgender Day of Remembrance

Joe Biden honors transgender day of remembrance

November 20th is Transgender Day of Remembrance, coming at the close of Transgender Awareness Week. The day was founded in 1999 by Gwendolyn Ann Smith to memorialize the murder of Rita Hester in Massachusetts. It has evolved into a day meant to honor and remember those who have been killed as a result of anti-trans violence, as well as calling attention to the pervasive violence that trans people can be subject to worldwide. It is a solemn day, and an incredibly vital one.

As I went searching for tweets to feature, my breath caught when the first one I saw was Joe Biden’s. The importance of having a President-Elect who honors this day—rather than the lame-duck “President” who has actively worked against trans people, weakened protections, and sparked further intolerance—cannot be overstated.

This is the first time we’ve seen such a step from a President-elect, and Biden’s statement is unflinching: “Know that my administration will see you, listen to you, and fight for not only your safety but also the dignity and justice you have been denied.”

Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris also tweeted in honor of the day.

It’s encouraging to see that recognizing and honoring Transgender Day of Remembrance has grown immensely on social media, and continues to grow with each passing year. Many political figures, celebrities, and brands are jumping in to tweet their support. All of the statements and platitudes in the world, however, will fall flat if we do not see real action.

Those of us who are allies must hold ourselves, our associates, our communities, and our politicians accountable. It is not enough to simply advocate for an end to this awful violence. We must strike down discriminatory policies in medicine and bureaucracy on a global scale, and create policies of protection and affirmation. We must work to drown out the abject ignorance that has spread online. We must tell our trans and gender-nonconforming friends and family members how much we love them and how we will fight for them. We must fight. We must be allies always keen to listen and learn, and to listen and learn some more. Every day we must uplift the refrain that trans rights are human rights.

And today, we remember and say their names.

Here are some other things we saw to mark Transgender Day of Remembrance.

(image: Joe Biden on Twitter/screengrab)

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Kaila Hale-Stern (she/her) is a content director, editor, and writer who has been working in digital media for more than fifteen years. She started at TMS in 2016. She loves to write about TV—especially science fiction, fantasy, and mystery shows—and movies, with an emphasis on Marvel. Talk to her about fandom, queer representation, and Captain Kirk. Kaila has written for io9, Gizmodo, New York Magazine, The Awl, Wired, Cosmopolitan, and once published a Harlequin novel you'll never find.