SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall, along with Salt Lake City Council, declared Monday as Transgender Day of Awareness in Salt Lake City.
“We mourn and honor the lives lost to discrimination and violence,” Mendenhall posted with the announcement on social media.
Every year on Nov. 20, Transgender Day of Remembrance commemorates “the transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming persons who are targeted and killed for living authentically and courageously,” the U.S. Department of State said in a news release.
To honor this day, University of Utah marked its campus with trans pride flags, the university posted on social media. Additionally, the university invited people to visit its LGBTQ+ Resource Center to write affirmations, letters, and draw pictures in support of the trans community.
“No one should live in fear or feel threatened because of who they are or how they are perceived by others in the community,” Mary Ann Villarreal, vice president for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, said. “We all must strive to make sure every person on campus knows they are welcome, safe, and have a place where they belong.”
In its release, the U.S. Department of State said trans individuals are a part of every country, every culture, and every faith tradition. The U.S. officially honors Transgender Day of Remembrance to “affirm the humanity and human rights of transgender persons globally.”
Transgender persons experience disproportionately high levels of homicide and assault, and their families and loved ones do not often see justice, the release states. The department urged countries around the world to ensure every hate crime is fully investigated.
The department said that this year, they are recommitting themselves to ensuring acceptance and support for transgender, non-binary, and gender non-confirming persons.
“It is everyone’s responsibility to ensure trans persons can live full lives of dignity, without fear of violence or harm,” the release states. “Until then, we will continue to speak loudly and clearly to end transphobic violence and homicide.”
Additionally, the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBTQ civil rights group, released Monday its annual report on fatal violence against transgender and gender non-conforming people in the U.S., describing the past year as an “epidemic of violence” targeting the community.
In the last year, HRC reported on at least 33 transgender and gender non-conforming people killed. A majority of these lives lost were young people of color, HRC said.
“These victims had families and friends, hopes and dreams,” HRC said on its website. “None of them deserved to have their lives stolen by horrific violence.”