(November 19, 2021: Submitted by Matt Canuteson, OMH Diversity and Inclusion Officer
As Transgender Day of Remembrance approaches, OMH wishes to reaffirm its commitment to actively working to promote a more inclusive and respectful environment for all.
Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) occurs annually on November 20th, at the conclusion of Transgender Awareness Week (November 13-19). TDOR was started in 1999 by Gwendolyn Ann Smith as a vigil to honor the memory of Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was killed in 1998. The vigil also honored transgender individuals who had lost their lives to violence since Rita Hester’s death and ultimately began a tradition that has now become the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance.
TDOR is a day to honor all of the lives of transgender people, particularly trans people of color, who have been killed due to hate-related violence. This year alone, over 40 trans individuals have lost their lives in the United States.
This Transgender Day of Remembrance, may we also reflect on the unique challenges that transgender and nonbinary individuals have faced due to the coronavirus pandemic. The pandemic has highlighted the longstanding disparities that exist for transgender and nonbinary individuals, including higher rates of mental health conditions and barriers to gender affirming care. OMH remains committed to holding the mental health system accountable to reducing disparities in quality, treatment and access outcomes for marginalized and underserved populations.
Additionally, OMH continues to create and disseminate educational resources, tip-sheets and materials across its various platforms that highlight special populations and available resources. In alignment with these efforts, OMH has created two resources that provide additional information on the unique experiences and challenges faced by transgender and nonbinary individuals. Additionally, these resources highlight the importance of using gender affirming language and provide guidance around terms to use and terms to avoid.
OMH will continue to ensure that transgender and nonbinary individuals have their voices heard and are actively involved in OMH’s efforts to improve service delivery and programmatic developments. These focused efforts include ensuring there is representation from transgender and nonbinary individuals in OMH’s stakeholder and advisory bodies. Additionally, OMH will continue to promote training and educational opportunities focused on providing gender affirming care across the mental health system.
This Transgender Day of Remembrance, we invite you to join OMH in promoting equity and inclusion for all!