Vanderbilt honors Transgender Day of Remembrance


Transgender Day of Remembrance is held nationally in November to honor Rita Hester, whose murder in 1998 launched the "Remembering Our Dead" Web project and a San Francisco candlelight vigil the following year.

During the last decade, one person per month has died because of transgender-based hate or prejudice, according to Brett Genny Beemyn, author of the forthcoming book, The Lives of Transgender People. Founded by activist and artist Gwendolyn Ann Smith after Hester’s death, Transgender Day of Remembrance has grown to encompass memorials in 120 cities worldwide.

Vanderbilt University’s Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex (LGBTQI) Life will sponsor a candlelight vigil honoring the 12th annual Transgender Day of Remembrance on Wednesday, Nov. 17. This year’s ceremony will be held at Vanderbilt’s Blair Choral Hall.

Doors will open at 6:30 p.m., with the program starting at 7:00 p.m. There will be a student musical performance, candle lighting, reading of the names of those being remembered and their stories, and a personal testimonial by a speaker to be named later. A light reception and tabling event will follow. A number of sponsors have signed up to provide informational materials for participants.

The Office of LGBTQI Life at Vanderbilt provides support and is a place of affirmation for individuals of all identities as well as a resource for information about gender and sexuality. The office serves all members of the Vanderbilt community – students, faculty, staff and alumni – by creating educational, cultural and social opportunities. The office also supports and advises LGBTQI-related campus groups and activities. For more information on the Office of LGBTQI Life, visit For more information on the “Transgender Day of Remembrance,” visit