Here are some ways you can observe Trans Day of Remembrance as a London student

‘It is important to honour our dead and reach out to our living’ during the ‘deadliest year’ for trans and gender-diverse people


This Saturday, 20 November, will be International Trans Day of Remembrance – an annual observation to honour those lost to transphobic violence. It occurs during Trans Awareness Week, which runs annually from 15 to 20 November.

2021 has been the “deadliest year” on record for trans and gender-diverse people since authorities began reporting these statistics, with 375 lives lost in anti-trans killings worldwide.

There are many ways of observing this day as a London student, including several events organised by Students’ Unions.

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The organisation Transrespect versus Transphobia Worldwide (TvT) began compiling data on trans-related violence and homicide in 2008. It is their data that indicates 2021 as the “deadliest year” for gender-diverse people in the last 13 years.

While the majority of these tragedies happened in Central and South America, Europe is also seeing an “alarming upwards trend” of transphobic hate crimes, with related incidents quadrupling over the last six years in the U.K. It also cannot be ignored that many of these deaths show violence against trans people at the intersections of other marginalised communities, as most victims were migrant trans women of colour and trans sex workers.

But the reality is much worse than the numbers. The authors of the report showing these statistics said: “these numbers are just a small glimpse of the reality on the ground [as in] most countries, data is not systematically collected. Most cases continue to go unreported and, when reported, receive very little attention.”

So, even as we’ve just seen the first openly trans army officer marching alongside 20 LGBTQ+ veterans on Remembrance Sunday, it really cannot be said that we’re anywhere near being free of anti-trans and -LGBTQ+ bigotry. As London students, here are some ways you can observe and show solidarity for the trans community this weekend.

Vigils and events by Students’ Unions

On Trans Day of Remembrance, the LGBT+ Society at Royal Holloway said: “at a time when trans people are increasingly tardy eyed by publicly platformed figures and hate crimes are rising, it is important to honour our dead and reach out to our living.” They are organising a vigil for the uni’s students and staff on Thursday, 18 November at 7:30 pm in Royal Holloway Chapel, where they’ll read the names of those who lost their lives this year and light candles in their memory.

Here are two other London unis holding a vigil:

KCLSU (Friday, 19 November at 5:30 pm in Chapel in King’s Building)

Students’ Union of Brunel University London (Friday, 19 November at 2:00 pm in Meeting House)

Aside from these, most LGBTQ+ groups at London unis will hold other events and support services throughout Trans Awareness Week this week. For example, Goldsmiths Students’ Union is inviting the public to join in creating a remembrance banner with “personal reflections of hope, grief, solidarity, and whatever other thoughts or feelings [on the tragedies]” on Friday, 19 November at 5:00 pm on the SU’s Lower Ground Floor.

Keep an eye out for more details on your Students’ Union’s and LGBTQ+ communities’ socials.

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Public services and events

If there are no events organised at your uni, there are still plenty of chances to get involved.

For example, there is a public vigil being held outside the Broadcasting House close to Oxford Circus on Saturday, 20 November at 6:00 pm. This is also a special event because in addition to honouring the trans lives lost, the organisers aim to “highlight the role of the media in this death toll” by placing the vigil outside the BBC.

If you cannot make events in person, LGBT Humanists will be holding a virtual event on their Facebook and Twitter pages on Saturday at 7:00 pm.

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But regardless of any events, it is only important for us to recognise the strength and struggles and show solidarity to the trans and gender-nonconforming communities on Trans Day of Remembrance and throughout Trans Awareness Week.

As Students’ Union UCL’s Trans Officer, Nestrum, said in a statement: “I hope you will be an ally and support us, and join the Trans and LGBT+ Networks if you identify as transgender, gender non-conforming and/or are questioning your gender – we are here for you.”

If you need support, please don’t hesitate to reach out to related communities at your uni or check out some of these local support services for trans and LGBTQ+ people:

Mermaids is a charity that supports trans and gender-diverse kids, youths, and young adults.

Gendered Intelligence is a trans-led and trans-involving charity that offers youth and community services in addition to public advocacy.

TransUnite connects LGBTQ+ people to local in-person and online support groups.

Stop Hate UK provides independent, confidential and accessible reporting and support for victims, witnesses and third parties of hate crimes.

East London Out Project (ELOP) is a charity offering a range of support services to LGBTQ+ Londonders.

Galop is an anti-violence charity that provides support services for LGBTQ+ victims of hate crime, domestic abuse and sexual violence.

Switchboard, LGBT+ helpline can provide information, support and referral service for LGBTQ+ students and their family members.

Related stories recommended by this writer:

Young trans people on their experiences of transitioning

LGBTQ+ students report at least three homophobic hate incidents to their unis every month

‘Being queer isn’t a disease’: Young queer people on the rise of anti-LGBTQ+ attacks