Trans Day of Remembrance and Resilience in Evanston


Nora Miller

Illustration by Nora Miller

Nora Miller and Eden Drajpuch

Dustin Parker. Neulisa Luciano Ruiz. Yampi Méndez Arocho. Scott/ Scottlynn Devore. Monika Diamond. Lexi. Johanna Metzger. Serena Angelique Velázquez Ramos. Layla Pelaez Sánchez. Penélope Díaz Ramírez. Nina Pop. Helle Jae O’Regan. Tony McDade. Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells. Riah Milton, Selena Reyes-Hernandez. Brian “Egypt’ Powers. Brayla Stone. Merci Mack. Shaki Peters. Bree Black. Summer Taylor. Marilyn Cazares. Dior H Ova. Queasha D Hardy. Aja Raquell Rhone-Spears. Lea Rayshon Daye. Kee Sam. Aerrion Burnett. Mia Green. Michelle Michellyn Ramos Vargas. Felycya Harris. Brooklyn Deshuna. Sara Blackwood. Angel Unique. Yunieski Carey Herrera

These are the names of the 37 transgender or gender non-conforming souls that were taken from the world this year. Today and every day, we remember their legacies and speak their names into the world. However, this number—already staggeringly high—might be even higher, seeing that many cases of violence against trans/GNC individuals often go unreported. 

Transgender Day of Remembrance, observed annually on Nov. 20, is a day dedicated to those who have lost their lives to anti-transgender violence. Today, some know Transgender Day of Remembrance as Transgender Day of Resilience, a day saluting the way that the transgender and gender non-conforming community has often been able to lift each other in times of need.

Gwendolyn Ann Smith, an activist for transgender rights, started the day in 1999 to honor Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was killed on this day in 1998. The day is usually commemorated with a vigil, according to GLAAD, a news outlet dedicated to the inclusion of LGBTQ+ equity issues in the media. 

We want to highlight the power that can come with understanding ourselves, constant unlearning, relearning, sometimes hurting tremendously and repairing, and other times feeling thrilling joy and celebration. Today, we are honoring the lives lost and the struggles won against violence towards our community. We hope to share spaces designed to heal. 

In recognizing the importance of this day, we want to acknowledge that our work as a publication doesn’t end here, and can offer us a space to challenge cisnormativity within our publication. The Evanstonian is committed to serving and honoring the experiences of the transgender and gender non-conforming community within ETHS and Evanston as a whole. Every. Single Day. 

The day serves as a reminder that trans individuals continue to suffer from discrimination and violence, but that it is not only possible but necessary, to imagine a better world. 

Given the weight that this day can bear on folks, The Evanstonian wants to amplify a local Evanston Public Library event. 

“Evanston’s first annual Trans Day of Resilience/Remembrance 11/20 5-7 pm. Evanston Trans/GNC POC to the front! This is an event by and for trans people to mourn, heal, and share. There will be an open mic portion for trans/GNC people to speak or share creative work. Nontrans and non-POC friends are welcome to attend and listen.” 

To sign up for the open mic at the event, the library asks that you fill out this Google form ahead of time:

To join the event, click on this Zoom link: