A Cis Ally’s Guide to Transgender Awareness Week


Transgender Awareness Week is a nationally recognized period of advocacy for members and allies of the community. This week leads up to Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoR), a day to honor the lives lost due to violent acts of transphobia in the past year. Transgender Awareness Week is currently being observed and will be until Saturday, November 20th, which is also TDoR. While this observance is relatively new, the necessity of awareness for the trans community has a long and abundant history. 



TW: Transphobia and violence

Rita Hester was a black transgender woman who was brutally murdered in Massachusetts in 1998. Police records state she had been stabbed 20 times by her killer. The slaying of an innocent, bright woman sparked an outcry in the local LGBTQ+ community. A candlelight vigil was held in Rita’s honor the following year that blossomed into a beautiful tradition of remembering lives lost too soon. Gwendolyn Ann Smith and a tight-knit group of advocates have organized an annual day of respect and recognition that has since gained international attention. The week before TDoR is used as a time of celebration and awareness for the trans community and issues surrounding it. The murder of Rita Hester has never been solved. 


What You Can Do:

The most important thing you can do as a cisgender ally during Transgender Awareness Week is to educate yourself. There are all kinds of resources to stay informed – Take a look at the list at the end of this article for some examples. Another activity to partake in is honoring those who have passed by attending or organizing a local candlelight vigil. The LGBT Center of Raleigh is hosting a candlelight vigil on November 20th at 6 pm at the NC Capitol. Reach out to your trans, nonbinary, and gender-nonconforming friends this week to let them know you are thinking of them, especially on TDoR. This day can be a very somber time within the community due to the heavy nature of the day.



If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo,

 Continuum by Chella Man,

Disclosure on Netflix, 

Pose on Netflix, 

The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson on Netflix