Statement on Transgender Awareness Week and Transgender Day of Remembrance 2021
The City of Pittsburgh LGBTQIA+ Commission recognizes our beautiful, vibrant, and talented trans and nonbinary neighbors this year during Transgender Awareness Week. We hope this week finds you happy and healthy. Regardless of your age, your profession, or your race; regardless of whether or not you have transitioned; regardless of what struggles you have overcome or what challenges you currently face; you are a vital part of this city. We celebrate your existence, your many accomplishments, and your continued daily displays of grace and strength. Trans people have always existed in Pittsburgh, and the future of our city has trans people in it. We will continue to do our best to recognize and elevate Pittsburgh’s transgender and nonbinary communities during this week, and during the other 51 weeks of the year.
Sadly, on November 20, the Transgender Day of Remembrance, we must also pay respect to the trans people whose lives were ended by violence during this year. 2021 has been the deadliest year on record for transgender people, with 46 recorded murders of trans people in the US and 375 murders reported worldwide. It is likely that there have been additional killings that went unreported or misreported in the media. As in other years, the vast majority of the dead have been Black and/or Latina trans women, highlighting the necessity of continuing to uplift and support trans women of color. Our region has not been immune to transphobic violence, as three trans people have been murdered this year in Western Pennsylvania. We say the names of our neighbors Chyna Carrillo, JJ Bright, and Jasmine Cannady, as well as the names of the other 43 transgender victims of violence in the US in 2021: Tyianna Alexander, Samuel Edmund Damian Valentin, Bianca “Muffin” Bankz, Dominique Jackson, Fifty Bandz, Alexus Braxton, Jenna Franks, Diamond Kyree Sanders, Rayanna Pardo, Jaida Peterson, Dominique Lucious, Remy Fennell, Tiara Banks, Natalia Smut, Iris Santos, Tiffany Thomas, Keri Washington, Jahaira DeAlto, Whispering Wind Bear Spirit, Sophie Vasquez, Danika “Danny” Henson, Serenity Hollis, Oliver “Ollie” Taylor, Thomas Hardin, Poe Black, EJ Boykin, Aidelen Evans, Taya Ashton, Shai Vanderpump, Tierramarie Lewis, Miss CoCo, Pooh Johnson, Disaya Monaee, Briana Hamilton, Kier Lapri Kartier, Mel Groves, Royal Poetical Starz, Zoella “Zoey” Rose Martinez, Jo Acker, Jessi Hart, Rikkey Outomuro, Marquiisha Lawrence, and Jenny De Leon. We take an additional silent moment to recognize our transgender dead whose names we do not know.
To our neighbors who grieve with us over this campaign of terror, we call on each of you to actively seek out opportunities to invest in and support the work of trans led organizations and community groups. While a day of mourning is appropriate, a year of action will lead us to a better place next November. All our trans neighbors deserve to live in peace and safety, in Pittsburgh and beyond.
*Updated on 11/18/2021 to include the name of Angel Naira of Aliquippa, Beaver County, Pennsylvania.
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