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Recognizing Trans Day of Remembrance and Resilience

Across our three campuses, the University of Toronto community will mark Trans Day of Remembrance and Resilience (TDORR) on November 20. This day began as a vigil honouring the life of Rita Hester, a Black trans woman brutally murdered in 1998. It quickly evolved into a day to remember and honour all individuals lost to transphobic violence. TDORR is recognized in countries around the world and is preceded by Trans Awareness Week, which aims to raise visibility of trans people, address issues members of the community face, and recognize the achievements of trans individuals locally and globally.

The University commemorates Trans Day of Remembrance and Resilience and Trans Awareness Week in full recognition that our world is increasingly hostile to individuals who identify as trans, Two Spirit, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming. Canada has experienced a recent rise in police-reported hate crimes targeting sex and gender. Efforts to ban books with 2SLGBTQ+ content and anti-trans protests at Drag Storytime events, school board meetings, and places of government are among the grim realities now shared by Canada and the United States.

As an institution that holds the protection of human rights at its core, our role is clear: we need to continue vital conversations and take action across our campuses to better support trans, nonbinary, and gender diverse members of the U of T community. Providing this support means calling out and addressing transphobic language or behaviour in our interactions. It means respecting and using the names and pronouns that our peers and colleagues identify for themselves. It involves ensuring that our campuses have spaces and services to promote community-building and belonging for trans and nonbinary students, faculty, librarians, and staff. Not least, it involves honouring the diversity that defines and benefits our entire institution by recognizing and celebrating trans and nonbinary students, faculty, librarians, and staff for the contributions they make to this institution and this community.

Fighting transphobia is an ongoing battle that encompasses words spoken, actions taken, and decisions made each day. It requires us all to recognize ourselves in each other. The University marks Trans Day of Remembrance and Resilience and Trans Awareness Week with programming designed for a broad range of affinities and identities. I encourage all members of our community to visit the website of the Sexual & Gender Diversity Office to find opportunities to participate and to learn.

Read the full statement by Kelly Hannah-Moffat, VP, People Strategy, Equity & Culture.