Student Voice


May 25, 2024


UWRF plans social media posts to raise transgender awareness

November 13, 2021

Transgender Day of Remembrance is an annual observance that takes place on Nov. 20.

It is a time to honor the memory of the transgender people who lost their lives due to acts of violence against members of their community, according to the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD). In addition to Transgender Day of Remembrance, people and organizations around the country participate in Transgender Awareness Week to address issues that face the community. 

The Day of Remembrance began in 1999 by transgender advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith. She started the observance in honor of Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was murdered in 1998. The day commemorates all the transgender people lost to violence since Rita Hester's death and starts an important tradition that defines Transgender Day of Remembrance.

Transgender Awareness Week takes place Nov. 13-19. According to GLAAD, it is a time for educating the public about who transgender people are, bonding through shared experiences and stories, advocating against issues related to discrimination, and violence that affects the transgender community.

Nathan Riel-Elness, the gender and sexuality outreach coordinator for the office of Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging (DIB), said, “For Trans Awareness Week and the Trans Day of Remembrance, our office is really planning to just have a social media presence throughout the week to raise awareness and provide different ideas for advocacy.”

For more information about trans identities and how to support the community, there are many different things students can do. Riel-Elness said Trans101 Gender Diversity Crash Course had some introductory videos and resources.

Another option for students is following individuals and organizations that support the community on social media. DIB uses Instagram to share some of their messaging, and they can be found @UWRF_DIB. 

Transgender Awareness Week and Transgender Day of Remembrance are an opportunity to learn more about the community, the challenges they faces, how we can do more to support trans individuals, and to commemorate all of the transgender people lost to violence.