OPSEU/SEFPO commemorates International Trans Day of Remembrance 2022

Transgender Flag

OPSEU/SEFPO commemorates International Trans Day of Remembrance (TDoR), which is observed annually on November 20 – the day that Rita Hester, a Black, trans woman, was murdered in 1998 at the age of 34. It is a day of remembrance for all trans people who have been killed, and a day of action to raise public awareness that hate crimes against trans and gender-diverse people continue today.

Through various reports collected by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation and Canadian Women’s Foundation, it is clear that violence disproportionately affects racialized trans women – particularly Black trans women – and that racism, sexism, homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia all intersect to deny them employment, housing, healthcare and other necessities.

Rooted in white supremacy, colonialism and slavery, all institutions present barriers that are systemically racist toward Black communities who have been denied opportunities in every facet of life. The anti-trans stigma that exists within a heterosexual male-dominated world further prevents full participation for Black trans women. This leads to discrimination in employment, setbacks in education, exclusion from social services, barriers to legal identification, unequal policing and a lack of justice.

This International Trans Day of Remembrance, we ask you to understand your privilege – to recognize the ways that being cisgender allows you to access washrooms, health care, or services, with greater ease. We ask that you think about the entitlements you take for granted, and for which others must fight and protect.

It’s up to all of us to fight against, and prevent, the various manifestations of transphobia – like negative attitudes and beliefs about trans people, irrational fears and misunderstandings, disbelief or discounting of a person’s pronouns or their gender identity, misgendering, name-calling, bullying, abuse, violence, stigma, and barriers and deterrents to access and inclusion in crucial services, resources and communities.

The experiences of transphobia are often dismissed. Commit to affirming the experiences of trans people. Listen to how you can provide support and be an ally.

OPSEU/SEFPO is committed to preventing and eliminating discrimination and violence based on gender identity and gender expression in our workplaces and communities, but it’s also our collective responsibility to end the stigma and remove the barriers that trans people face.

How can I get involved in the Trans Day of Remembrance?

Being an ally is about doing something and making change with, and for, trans communities. The trans community needs allies to step forward and memorialize those who have died because of anti-trans violence.

You can use social media, blogs, websites, videos and books to educate yourself on the issues facing trans and non-binary communities. Share the information with your friends and colleagues.

Participate by attending and/or organizing a vigil on November 20 to honour the trans people whose lives were lost to anti-trans violence this year.

In Solidarity,

JP Hornick, OPSEU/SEFPO President
Laurie Nancekivell, OPSEU/SEFPO First Vice-President/Treasurer
Morgen Veres & Billie Bridgewater, OPSEU/SEFPO Rainbow Alliance arc-en-ciel, Co-Chairs