Joe Biden promised to end violence and discrimination against transgender and gender-non-confirming people in a statement recognizing Transgender Day of Remembrance on Friday.
“On Transgender Day of Remembrance, we honor their lives — and recommit to the work that remains to ensure that every transgender and gender-non-conforming person in America has the opportunity to live authentically, earn a living wage, and be treated with dignity and respect in their communities and workplaces,” a statement by Biden said.
“As part of our remembrance, we must work to end the epidemic of violence and discrimination against transgender and gender-nonconforming Americans and never repeat it.”
This year marks the 21st annual TDoR, founded by transgender activist Gwendolyn Smith to recognize the death of Rita Hester. It honors the memory of those killed in anti-transgender violence.
At least 37 transgender and gender-non-conforming people have died by violence this year, most of whom were Black or Latinx, according to the Human Rights Campaign. The organization said it’s the highest annual number at this point in the year since it began tracking the deaths in 2013.
“These victims were killed by acquaintances, partners or strangers, some of whom have been arrested and charged, while others have yet to be identified,” the HRC said. “Some of these cases involve clear anti-transgender bias. In others, the victim’s transgender status may have put them at risk in other ways, such as forcing them into unemployment, poverty, homelessness and/or survival sex work.”
Biden said that starting on Inauguration Day, he plans to fight for transgender rights. In an October town hall he promised to reverse President Donald Trump’s executive order banning transgender people from serving in the military.
“Transgender rights are human rights,” Biden said Friday.
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