People from across the country took part in Transgender Awareness Week from Nov. 13 to 19. Each year, these seven days celebrate transgender people and communities, and also raise awareness regarding the violence and discrimination that these communities face.
The week leads up to Transgender Day of Remembrance on Nov. 20, which remembers the victims of transphobic violence.
Transgender community advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith established the day in honour of Rita Hester, a Black transgender woman killed in 1998.
Since its inception, the day has memorialized the lives of transgender people who have been killed as a result of transphobic violence.
The Rainbow Pride Centre (RPC) held a Transgender Day of Remembrance ceremony in the RPC lounge on Monday, Nov. 21, where community members gathered in a supportive sharing space.
According to Statistics Canada, an estimated 75,000 people in Canada aged 15 or older identified as transgender in 2018.
The same study showed that from age 15, transgender people living in Canada are more likely to have experienced violence and inappropriate behavours at work, in public and online than cisgender people.
In 2020, 259 people in Canada from 2SLGBTQIA+ communities were the target of police-reported hate crimes.
Federal Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth Marci Ien issued a statement of solidarity with the transgender community on Transgender Day of Remembrance.
“We all have a duty to fight the social stigma affecting this group,” Ien said.
“We strongly encourage everyone in Canada to support [2SLGBTQIA+] communities, and especially trans people, in order to end the systemic discrimination that occurs based on sexual orientation, sex characteristics, and gender identity and expression.”