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Trans Awareness Week 

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A week of Programming November 15-19

Trans Day of Remembrance (TDoR) is observed annually and internationally on November 20 to honour the memory of the trans people who have lost their lives as a result of transphobic violence that year.

Trans and nonbinary people continue to face marginalization and discrimination in the form of transphobia. This can manifest as negative attitudes and beliefs about trans people, irrational fears and misunderstandings, a disbelief or discounting of a person’s pronouns or their gender identity, derogatory language and name-calling, and bullying, abuse, and violence. The stigma of transphobia can also create barriers for trans and nonbinary people’s access to and inclusion in services, resources and communities. It is our collective responsibility to work to reduce these barriers. At the University of Toronto, we are committed to challenging marginalization and discrimination based on gender identity and gender expression.

Trans Day of Remembrance was first observed in 1998 by trans advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith who hosted a vigil in memory of Rita Hester, a trans woman who had been killed that year. The vigil became a commemoration of all of the trans lives lost that year to violence and has since become an annual event.

The week before Nov 20 is also Transgender Awareness Week, which aims to increase awareness, visibility and knowledge of trans people and the issues faced by members of trans communities. It is also an opportunity to celebrate the lives of trans and nonbinary people and the contributions they have made.

Trans Awareness Week 2021

Monday November 15, 2021:

Gender Identity, Gender Expression, and Building a Gender-Inclusive University (Virtual Training)

  • This introductory workshop is intended for employees who want to learn about core concepts such as gender identity, gender expression and trans and nonbinary identities. The session will also address relevant and current policies and best practices for students and employees at the university. Additionally, the session will address pronouns, inclusive language strategies, and will be an opportunity to ask questions and engage in discussions about collectively building more equitable and inclusive learning and working environments.

Wednesday November 17:

In Conversation with Health & Wellness: De-Mystifying Health Services for Trans and Nonbinary Students

  • “In Conversation with Health & Wellness: De-Mystifying Health Services for Trans and Nonbinary Students” is the first session in a series of events planned to help to demystify the process of accessing healthcare for 2SLGBTQ+ students. Have you ever wondered what trans-affirming physical and mental health services are available at U of T and how to access them? You’re not alone. The Sexual & Gender Diversity Office (SGDO) and Health and Wellness Centre are partnering for a conversation series, where trans and nonbinary students can ask questions about Health and Wellness services directly to the people who deliver them.

Thursday November 18:

Q21: A Conversation Cafe – Celebrating Trans Resilience and Expression

  • Q21 is recognizing Trans Day of Remembrance by celebrating trans resiliency! In light of the targeted and disproportionate violence that the trans community faces, this session is meant to celebrate trans lives by uplifting, inspiring and educating. This will be done through recognizing trans creatives like Robbie Ahmed who will be a guest speaker at this event! Robbie is an accomplished trans activist, writer, singer-songwriter, and arts-director who will be a co-facilitator, and we are excited to have his perspective during this event! Join us for this very meaningful and educational Q21 session.

Friday November 19:

Trans Day of Remembrance & Resilience Featuring Jack SaddlebackTrans Day of Remembrance & Resilience Featuring Jack Saddleback November 19, 2021,1:00pm

  • Join us for Trans Day of Remembrance & Resilience, featuring remarks from and a Q&A with Jack Saddleback.
  • About Jack Saddleback: Riveting, captivating, real, insightful, grounded, and illuminated, these are just a few words that have been used to describe Jack Saddleback’s presentation of his life as a Cree Two-Spirited Champion. Saddleback has won numerous awards, including Red Cross’s 2018 SK Young Humanitarian of the Year, CBC’s 2016 Future 40 Under 40, and the Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network 2015 Young Eagles Award. Jack’s life story embodies how one person’s spirit can help transform a community, while providing validation to struggling trans youth. “Everyone has an identity. Mine just happens to be rarer than most.” Jack SaddlebackIn his wake, Jack Saddleback leaves gender barriers shattered. As a Cree Two-Spirit Transgender Gay Man, he was the first elected Transgender Student Union president of University of Saskatchewan and only the fourth Indigenous person to hold that position. Jack captivates his audience when sharing his validating message of Embracing Two Spirits, Conquering Mental Health, and Finding One’s Identity. Jack has found many struggles not only from the world at large but from his own Indigenous community. This has not stopped him from reaching new heights. He embraces life with an open mind and a child-like curiosity that helps push his own limits in the pursuit of happiness.

Trans, Nonbinary and Two-Spirit Student Gathering with Jack SaddlebackTrans, Nonbinary and Two-Spirit Student Gathering With Jack Saddleback November 19, 2021, 3:00pm

  • Join trans, nonbinary and Two-Spirit students from across U of T’s three campuses for Trans Day of Remembrance and Resilience. Student facilitators will engage participants in conversations and some light activities. Jack Saddleback will join this gathering for the first 30 minutes to speak with students about the topics they want to talk about.

Show Your Support

Download the Trans Day of Remembrance icons and backgrounds for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Zoom, or Teams:

trans day of remembrance image, text in a purple circle with a yellow background, white flower outline to the left

trans day of remembrance icon, black text on purple background inside of a circle; candles and trans flag to the left of the text






yellow banner, purple circle in top left corner with white outlined flower and text: trans day of remembrancepink background, trans flag and candles on top right with text: trans day of remembrance






black background, sparkly lights on left margin, text at the top: trans day of remembrance