The Transgender Day of Remembrance was started in 1999 by Gwendolyn Ann Smith, to memorialize the murder of Rita Hester, a Black transgender woman, in Allston, Mass. The transgender community worldwide has gathered to honor the names of those who were lost to violence since its inception, a tradition that continues to today. Victims’ names are read, candlelight vigils take place, as well as church services, film screenings, marches and more.

This year, however, has been presented with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to social distancing, quarantine measures and other roadblocks to gathering in person, a large number of regular observances have been curtailed this year. Some have stepped out to hold a few memorials and are included in the list below.

The list of names for 2020 has already surpassed the totals of any other year previously recorded. Especially noted is the overwhelming number of Black transgender women who have been killed during this time. One of the names, Carolinian Monica Diamond, brings loss closer to home.

For more information on the Transgender Day of Remembrance, visit

Asheville, N.C., Nov. 20, 6 p.m.
Host: Tranzmission; Venue: Online
The local nonbinary and transgender community observance includes reading of names, peer support and counseling resources and online vigil. Zoom meeting code and password will be made available om social media and through email by request (, subject line “TDoR 2020 RSVP”) on the day of the event. Visit to learn more.

Jacksonville, N.C., Nov. 20, 6 p.m.
Host: Onslow County LGBTQ+ Community Center; Venue: 895 Bridge St.
Join community members to mourn the senseless loss of the lives taken too soon. To learn more, visit