Today—Wednesday, 20 November—marks the International Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR).
TDOR is an annual observance to honour the memory of trans and gender diverse people whose lives have been lost in acts of anti-trans violence.
Started in the US in 1999 by Gwendolen Ann Smith to remember murdered trans woman Rita Hester, it has become an international movement to pay tribute to those lost, and to continue the fight for justice both in Australia and overseas.
This evening, Fitzroy Town Hall ballroom will be a community space for anyone who wishes to gather to reflect, support each other, or share memories and stories, with a musical and poetic vigil for trans people and their supporters, family, and allies.
“For me, Trans Day of Remembrance is a day to hold space for expressing and reflecting on years of personal and community trauma,” Teddy Darling, organiser of the TDOR Vigil told the Star Observer.
“It’s not about statistics or justifying our victimhood, it’s not about raising awareness or educating allies, it’s not for anyone else, it’s a space for us to openly feel the pain of losses we have experienced and physically be together.
“It’s about acknowledging our history, and the people who have fought for us to be able to claim this space. I think it’s about lifting our gaze and taking an opportunity for international trans solidarity and recognising that the fight for civil rights is not over and that trans people overseas are still fighting for their lives. I think people should be able to have a space where they can feel those feelings and remember people they’ve lost.
“That’s why I organised the vigil last year, and that’s why I curate it so carefully and artistically – because it needs to be accessible and allow people to choose how much they would like to engage with the pain of it all.” he said.
“This year, I’m introducing something new, and instead of having the list of names we’re going to have a name wall and any names that people pin up are going to be immortalised in a special book which we bring back year after year — so no one is forgotten.”
The vigil is proudly organised by trans and queer volunteers in collaboration with Yarra Libraries and community organisations, and is an opportunity to remember and treasure trans elders and community members with pride, reflections, and music by local trans and gender diverse musicians.
Starting from 7pm at the Fitzroy Town Hall, the vigil will finish with a community chorale. While bookings are not required for the event, you can register a space here.