November 18, 2020 at 10:57 am EST | by Parker Purifoy
Trans Awareness Week goes virtual
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TransTech founder and ‘Pose’ star Angelica Ross participated in HRC’s Trans Awareness Week events. (Screen capture via YouTube)

The Human Rights Campaign held a series of events this week, including panels and film screenings, to celebrate and commemorate Transgender Awareness Week, the organization announced Nov. 13.

Transgender Awareness Week, which runs from Nov. 13 to Nov. 20 is dedicated to highlighting the progress and the continued struggles of gender nonconforming communities. This year’s events are all being held virtually because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The week’s events kicked off on Sunday with the TransTech panel “A Look Ahead-The Stakes for Trans and Non-Binary People,” hosted by HRC President Alphonso David and featuring TransTech founder and “Pose” star, Angelica Ross. TransTech is a networking organization designed to give trans people access to education, support, and jobs.

A film screening and panel discussion of “Mama Gloria” was scheduled for Wednesday. “Mama Gloria” tells the story of Gloria Allen, who will be participating in the discussion. Allen is a Black transgender woman who came out of Chicago’s ballroom culture in the 1960s and went on to pioneer a charm school for young transgender people.

Allen will be joined on the panel by Luchina Fisher, film director and member of HRC’s Parents for Transgender Equality Council; Gia Parr, HRC Foundation youth ambassador; and Tori Cooper, director of community engagement for HRC’s Transgender Justice Initiative.

On Thursday, a film screening and panel discussion of the documentary “Born To Be” is scheduled for 8 p.m. the documentary follows Dr. Jess Ting, a doctor at the Mount Sinai Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery in New York City. The panel will include Ting, as well as Director of the HRC Foundation’s Health and Aging Program Tari Hanneman, the film’s director Tania Cypriano, and other advocates featured in the film. The panel will be moderated by Associate Editor at IndieWire Jude Dry.

Also scheduled for Thursday is a Project Thrive webinar, titled “Youth Beyond the Binary: A Conversation on Non-Binary Identities”, with non-binary youth advocate Sula Malina. Project Thrive is a national campaign to support and care for LGBTQ youth.

The week will end with the Transgender Day of Remembrance, which is held every year on Nov. 20.

A panel discussion is scheduled for Friday at 11 a.m. with Cooper, executive director of STARR, trans advocate Mariah Lopez, and Executive Director of New York Transgender Advocacy Group Kiara St. James. They will be joined by community advocate Kendall Stephens, Ty Williams, a friend of Tony McDade’s family, and Clara Harris, the mother of Felycya Harris a trans woman who was murdered in October.

So far, at least 36 transgender or gender nonconforming people have been killed in 2020, HRC said in a statement. A majority of those were Black and Latinx transgender women. According to the statement, HRC has recorded the highest number of violent deaths of gender nonconforming people this year than any year since 2013, when they began keeping track. The year 2017 previously held the highest number of transgender fatalities with 31 recorded deaths.

In addition to HRC’s virtual events, Casa Ruby is holding a vigil in honor of Transgender Day of Remembrance at Dupont Circle on Friday at 6 p.m. The event is part of the organization’s new “Trans Lives Matter” campaign, which launched earlier this week. 

“Join us and let the world know that it is intolerance that is killing our brothers and sisters across the world,” Ruby Corado, founder of Casa Ruby, said in a Facebook video. “Here in the nation’s capital, we have a strong transgender community that is ready to speak and demand change for all of us.”

Local activist Earline Budd is also organizing a virtual Transgender Day of Remembrance virtual event. The theme for the event is “Out of the Shadow, Out of the Ashes, Moving Forward Stronger.”

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