Attendees at the official Gender Centre Transgender Day of Remembrance are encouraged to wear light purple ribbons to raise awareness of the day.

November 20 marks the 11th International Day of Transgender Remembrance. Started in San Francicso in 1999, the day marks the murder of trans-woman Rita Hester and remembers other victims of transphobia and violence. It also aims to promote wider community understanding.

The Gender Centre’s event will be held at the Metropolitan Community Church from 1pm. NSW Police GLBTI spokeswoman Donna Adney will give the keynote speech, followed by two women who will tell their stories of surviving anti-trans violence, before Reverend Karl Hand gives his address.

“It’s a multi-faceted day. There’s the commemorative aspect, but in Australia, because we have such a small community, we also remember the big advocates who have assisted the transgender community, like Eleanor Lister,” event organiser and Gender Centre case manager Liz Ceissman said.

“There’s also that part of celebration, that element of ‘we’re still here and we’re resilient’. Then there’s the community education aspect.

“We’re encouraging people to wear light purple ribbons. If anyone wears a ribbon of an unusual colour, it encourages people to ask ‘What does that mean?’. Even if just three people wear it, and just three people ask what it’s for, that’s an opportunity to engage and explain what it’s about, and to say ‘I support this community’. ”

National LGBT Health Alliance members will also host and participate in events marking the day, such as A Gender Agenda’s candlelight memorial in Canberra.

National LGBT Health Alliance executive director Gabi Rosenstreich will attend the community dinner and reading in Adelaide organised by Bfriend and the Carrousel Club of SA.

“The Transgender Day of Remembrance honours those who have been killed, but it is also a call to end the transphobia that damages and ends so many people’s lives and a reminder of the incredible strength and resilience of so many sex and gender diverse people in the face of continuing discrimination,” Rosenstreich said.

“In a society where transphobic discrimination and violence are so prevalent, current regulations which make it impossible for many sex and gender diverse people to obtain identity documentation that reflects their lived identity makes these people even more vulnerable to violence”.

Other activities on Transgender Day of Remembrance include STILL FIERCE, a night of trans performance, on Saturday November 21, at Serial Space in Chippendale. There is also an online Facebook campaign, ‘Operation: Sex Change’, which encourages people to change the sex on their Facebook page as a sign of solidarity,

info: The Gender Centre event will be held from 1pm on November 20 at MCC, 98 Crystal St, Petersham. STILL FIERCE is at Serial Space, 33 Wellington St, Chippendale. Details:  Jackson on 0424 071 139.

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