On Sunday, Nov. 19, All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena will observe the Transgender Day of Remembrance, marking the fifth annual event dedicated to honoring those who lost their lives due to anti-transgender violence.
The event, typically held on November 20, aims to draw attention to the ongoing discrimination and violence faced by individuals of trans experience.
“We typically do it around the actual day which primarily in Western society is observed on Nov. 20th, being designated for transgender remembrance,” Thomas Diaz, Director of Connection and Care at All Saints Church, said. “It is the annual time where both the LGBTQ community and their allies come together and mourn and lament over trans lives that have been lost by anti-, and also in most recent times, the epidemic of death by suicide.”
Diaz said the initial candlelight prayer service on the church’s lawn has transformed into a fully sanctioned liturgy by the Episcopal tradition. The service now incorporates elements like the Eucharist, showcasing the church’s adaptation of traditions and prayers to commemorate this important day.
The Transgender Day of Remembrance & Resilience event, commencing at 5 p.m., aims to create a sacred and safe space for trans individuals. It involves clergy and pastoral care team members to assist those in need during the service. Diaz emphasized the leadership of the trans community within the church in organizing and leading the service, further demonstrating its significance.
Following the service, there will be a private reception intended for the trans community to foster camaraderie and provide a space for reflection and processing of the heavy emotions evoked during the event. The reception is not intended for keynote speakers but rather for community members to come together in fellowship.
Diaz also highlighted All Saints Church’s ongoing support for transgender individuals throughout the year. The church has officially adopted a zero-tolerance policy against anti-trans rhetoric and behaviors, reflecting its commitment to stand against any form of legislation that threatens transgender lives.
“During Pride Month in June, our vestry, which is basically our board of governance, passed a resolution that speaks on behalf of the Church that we are standing against any forms of anti-trans resolutions, any legislation and laws that are happening throughout the country, that we are making a stand to oppose anything that limits or try to eradicate the lives of a transgender lives,” Diaz said. “Which then allows us to say that we are a parish that stands, that has a zero tolerance to any form of anti-trans rhetoric, or any anti-trans behaviors. We have a zero tolerance amongst our staff and our congregation, and that was passed unanimously.”
Regarding the message the church hopes attendees will take away from the observance, Diaz emphasized the need for education, reflection, and examination of privilege, particularly among cisgender individuals.
“We hope for everyone who’s attending it’s not only are they engaged in both the prayers and the need to remember those who have gone before us due to violent common life or death by suicide, but it is a time to examine the privilege when you are not affected by all of the ongoing chaos surrounding anti-trans rhetoric, and really anti-trans legislations are happening throughout the state and federal level,” Diaz said.
He also stressed the importance of acknowledging and addressing ongoing challenges faced by the transgender community, especially amidst anti-trans rhetoric in public policy and societal acceptance.
Transgender Day of Remembrance was initiated to honor Rita Hester, whose murder in 1998 led to the “Remembering Our Dead” project. The event aims to shed light on the threat of violence against gender variant people and the prejudices faced by the transgender community.
All Saints Church’s commemoration aligns with a week of nationwide events known as Transgender Awareness Week (Nov. 13 to 19), emphasizing visibility and addressing the issues faced by transgender and gender non-conforming individuals.
For more information about the event and All Saints Church’s ongoing initiatives in supporting transgender rights, visit https://allsaints-pas.org/transgender-day-of-remembrance/.