Honoring the Dead: Trans Day of Remembrance Events in Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania

According to GLAAD and Remember Our Dead, TDOR started in San Francisco in 1999, when trans advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith held a vigil honoring the memory of Rita Hester, a trans woman who was killed in her home two days before her 35th birthday. Ever since, TDOR has taken place on November 20th. Attendees honor Rita and her unsolved case, as well as our transgender and TGNC siblings who are no longer with us. Via TransLash Media.

This year, you can honor these neighbors by supporting trans led organizations and projects in your community. Here in Pittsburgh, we have several options.

  • SisTersPgh is co-sponsoring a vigil with the Black Liberation Autonomous Collection (BLAC) at 6 PM at Freedom Corner, honoring Black trans folx who have died this past year.
  • TransYOUniting will be hosting TDOR vigil and their first annual Gala of Grace on Monday, Nov. 20th, from 6:00-10:00 PM. Join us at our QMNTY Center, 525 East Ohio St, Pittsburgh PA 15212
  • The day before, First United Methodist Church is hosting an afternoon event lifting up the stories of trans folx.
  • Join TransFamily of NWPA on Monday, November 20th for Transgender Day of Remembrance. We will come together to remember and honor our transgender siblings that have been lost to senseless acts of anti-transgender violence, marginalization and stigma by reading their names and short bios aloud. The vigil will be held at Journey to a Trauma-Informed Life, 201 W. 11th Street, Erie PA at 7:30 pm. It will also be live-streamed on our Facebook page for those who can’t attend. Light refreshments will be provided.
  • Rivertown Pride Center will host a time of remembrance and sharing at the Columbia Crossings in Columbia, PA on November 20, 2023 from 9-noon. They will be joined by Andrew Charney (he/him/they/them), who is a Two Spirit member of the Edisto Natchez Kusso tribe and specializes in straight stitch and loom beadwork. They use beadwork as a meditative practice of patience, perseverance, and intention. Andrew is a representative from the Eastern Two-Spirit and Indigiqueer Gathering, an intergenerational celebration of Two-Spirit, queer, trans, non-binary, and gender expansive Indigenous identities in the mid-Atlantic. Andrew will share a blessing in honor of the day as well as lead participants in a beading activity. There will also be other faith leaders present as well to offer prayers and to be of support to the community during our time together.
  • Eastern PA Trans Project Monday, November 20, 2023, 7 PM. At this vigil you will have the opportunity to meet and hear from members of the gender-expansive community in the Lehigh Valley as they express their sorrow and concerns for the welfare of those who live and work in our community each and every day. This event is hosted by Eastern PA Trans Equity Project and Metropolitan Communty Church of the Lehigh Valley. Refreshments will be available immediately following the event.
  • There will be a Transgender Day of Remembrance Vigil held on Monday, November 20 at 6pm at Zwingli United Church of Christ, 350 Wile Ave. Souderton PA. All are welcome.
  • On Monday November 20 from 6-8pm, William Way, Independence Business Alliance, TransWork, and the Office of LGBT Affairs will be coming together to host an event where we will be joining to honor those lives lost. 

For more information, visit the GLAAD TDOR site.

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