November 20 is a day to honour and memorialize transgender people whose lives were lost in acts of anti-trans violence, and an opportunity to raise awareness around the issues trans and gender non-conforming people continue to face.
The day was started by trans advocate and activist Gwendolyn Ann Smith to honor Rita Hester, a Black trans woman who was murdered in Boston in 1998. Rita’s murder is still unsolved, and too many transgender victims of violence continue to suffer the same fate.
Results of a national survey on harassment and violence in Canadian workplaces by the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) revealed that trans, nonbinary, and gender-diverse workers are experiencing higher rates of harassment and violence. For example, 73 per cent of gender-diverse respondents experienced sexual harassment and violence, compared to 46 per cent of women and 38 per cent of men.
We can all be better allies to our trans colleagues and friends by helping to build safer, more inclusive workplaces and communities. Because trans people deserve to be treated with respect and care — as human beings, like everyone else.
Learn more and take action
Using inclusive language is one of the ways we can honour Two-Spirt, trans and non-binary people. That’s why PSAC developed a Gender Inclusive Language Toolkit this year to help members, elected leaders and staff interact in a way that respects and celebrates our unique and diverse gender identities.
To ensure trans workers have the support they need in our workplaces, unions and communities, the CLC has also developed the Workers in Transition Guide, which union leaders and members can use to help better protect the rights of trans members.
We encourage you to attend a virtual vigil or find an event happening in your community to recognize the Transgender Day of Remembrance.