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Sheffield to make noise for Trans Day of Remembrance

On Saturday, Sheffield’s LGBTQI+ community and allies will stand together to mark Transgender Day of Remembrance. 

Trans pride flag
Lena Balk

Trans Day of Remembrance (TDoR) takes place on 20 November every year. The tradition began in 1999, following the murder of Rita Hester, a trans woman in Massachusetts. In a bid to raise awareness of the violence and hate faced by the trans community, annual Trans Day of Remembrance events occur across the world.

In Sheffield this year, an event will take place on Saturday from 1pm in the Winter Gardens. Organised by LGBT+ youth organisation SAYiT, the Hallam LGBT+ Staff Network, LGBT+ Sheffield and Sheffield University’s LGBT+ Committee, the gathering will be “an event to remember those who have lost their lives to transphobia this year and in the past”.

A spokesperson for SAYiT explained that “Between 1 October 2020 and 30 September 2021 over 400 trans, non-binary or gender non-conforming people around the word lost their lives due to transphobia. This is an event to remember them, pay your respects and make some noise to end transphobic hate.”

Attending the event is a show of respect and a display of solidarity with Sheffield’s trans community. Sheffield Hallam LGBT+ Staff Network told Now Then:

Trans Day of Remembrance marks the end of Trans Awareness week. We are hosting a Vigil so that people can gather to take time to reflect and take time to honour the lives of those who have lost their lives due to transphobia. We truly hope anybody who is able to takes the time to attend.

The event will begin with a vigil at 1pm offering an opportunity to reflect. There will be speeches at 2pm and it will end with a minute of noise.

Sheffield Winter Gardens

Transphobia is not just a problem abroad; transphobic hate crimes in the UK have quadrupled over the last five years and ILGA-Europe has cited a number of legal cases and government backtracking that are endangering our progress towards LGBTQ+ equality in the country. Meanwhile, a Galop report found that 4 in 5 of the people who responded to their poll had experienced a form of transphobic hate crime, 1 in 4 had experienced transphobic physical assault or the threat of physical assault and nearly 1 in 5 had experienced transphobic sexual assault or the threat of sexual assault.

How trans allies can help

A supportive LGBTQIA+ community, as well as broader support within the city, can vastly improve the lives of trans and non-binary people in Sheffield. You don’t have to be trans to attend the TDoR event and offering solidarity by attending, listening, and making noise at the end, is invaluable.

Learn some facts and background about trans people in the UK and in Sheffield to counter arguments from people who are more hostile. Sandra Baker Donnelly and Chris Mowat from Steel City Queer History, for instance, are keen to counter the idea that trans identities are a new phenomenon.

It’s vital that we remember that trans people have been here throughout human history. Yes, our trancestors had to overcome great adversity and challenges, but it’s important to celebrate that many survived and thrived. For example, we know that in Sheffield, a person known as Henry Stokes, who was assigned female at birth, married a woman at the Cathedral in 1817. He went on to live in Manchester as a master bricklayer.

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