Liverpool Hope University will celebrate Transgender Awareness Week and Transgender Day of Remembrance 2021 with a series of events.
Transgender Day of Remembrance, or ‘TDoR’ is an annual observance on November 20 that honors the memory of the trans and gender-diverse people whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence.
It also caps the end of national Transgender Awareness Week 2021, which takes place from 13 to 19 November.
The international TDoR event was first launched in 1999 by American transgender advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith as a vigil to honor the memory of Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was killed in 1998. Rita was stabbed to death in her own apartment in Boston, US.
The perpetrators of this vile crime have never been brought to justice.
And now Hope will show its support for the community throughout this week to mark TDoR and highlight the violence that affects transgender people.
Jack Evans, part-time officer for Trans and Non-binary students at Hope, says: “Transgender Day of Remembrance - and Transgender Awareness Week - is a time to reflect on the challenges facing the trans community and also for allies to come together in solidarity.”
On Wednesday 17th November at 5pm staff and students are urged to gather in the Lecture Theatre Complex building at Hope Park for a special vigil.
There will be speeches and time for reflection. Meanwhile Jack is also putting together a special celebratory video.
He explains: “I am asking students to send in a video of either what Transgender Awareness Week means to them, why they are proud to be a member of the trans community, or why other members of the Hope family are proud to be an ally to the trans community.
“We want to make the event full of positivity, while also having a respectful atmosphere.”
Stephanie Trujillo, Vice President Welfare & Community at the Hope Students’ Union, adds: “If you’d like to make a contribution to the video montage but wish to remain anonymous, that’s also absolutely encouraged.
“Just simply send over some words for inclusion and either myself or Jack can read them out on your behalf.”
After the vigil, Jack and the Students’ Union will host a celebration at Hope’s ‘Our Place’ bar, where there will be a quiz and music.
A trans flag will be raised on a flagpole near the Lecture Theatre Complex building throughout this week.
While Jack also says other events will also be taking place, including sessions talking about the importance of pronouns, as well as the promotion of ‘allyship and awareness for the trans community’.
Transgender Day of Remembrance founder Gwendolyn Ann Smith says the international events are ‘vitally important’.
She writes: “Transgender Day of Remembrance seeks to highlight the losses we face due to anti-transgender bigotry and violence. I am no stranger to the need to fight for our rights, and the right to simply exist is first and foremost.
“With so many seeking to erase transgender people -- sometimes in the most brutal ways possible - it is vitally important that those we lose are remembered, and that we continue to fight for justice."
Earlier this year the Hope Students’ Union published Pink, White & Blue Liverpool , a unique guide for for trans and non-binary students.
The idea of the book is to signpost university-goers to all of the ‘inclusive, nurturing’ establishments and organisations across Liverpool.
And Jack said at the time: “It’s very daunting moving to university, and this can be even scarier when you are a Trans student coming into a new city.
“We are providing a guide of fun and safe spaces across the city of Liverpool and additional resources for students who identify as Trans, Non-binary or something else in and out of the gender spectrum.
“Trans students are welcomed at Hope - you have our full support and are a valuable member of our student body!
“We will always aim to foster an inclusive, nurturing community at the University, Student Union and within the greater community of the city of Liverpool. We take pride in our Trans students and community leaders!”