Transgender Day of Remembrance, which is held Nov. 20 each year, commemorates transgender individuals who died as a result of discrimination and victimization. The day was first celebrated to remember Rita Hester, a transgender African-American woman who was murdered in November 1998.
The LGBT community and its allies gather each year to honor the memories of those lost to anti-transgender hate crimes, as well as to educate others about gender variant individuals. Many cities hold events to provide an opportunity to raise awareness about the high rates of violence faced by transgender people and the persistent prejudice they face.
"The Transgender Day of Remembrance seeks to highlight the losses we face due to anti-transgender bigotry and violence," Gwendolyn Ann Smith, an advocate who founded the day, said. "I am no stranger to the need to fight for our rights, and the right to simply exist is first and foremost. With so many seeking to erase transgender people — sometimes in the most brutal ways possible — it is vitally important that those we lose are remembered, and that we continue to fight for justice.”
Here are some important facts to keep in mind this Friday:
1. There are about 700,000 people who identify as transgender in the United States, or 0.03 percent of the population, according to a 2011 study from the Williams Institute.
2. There are high rates of suicide in the transgender community. A 2011 National Transgender Discrimination study found that 41 percent of transgender people surveyed had attempted suicide.
3. There are more than 15,000 transgender individuals serving in the military, according to the Williams Institute.
4. Former Olympian Caitlyn Jenner sat down with Diane Sawyer on ABC for a highly publicized interview in which she shared that she is transgender. Nearly 17 million people tuned in for the the segment on "20/20."
5. Transgender Americans are four times more likely to have a household income of less than $10,000.
6. In a 2014 study, 65 percent of transgender respondents reported violence at work, reported the Williams Institute.
7. Around 19 percent of transgender individuals report having been refused healthcare due to their gender status, according to a 2010 survey from the National Center for Transgender equality.
8. The transgender community is also affected by HIV/AIDS disproportionately. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that the highest percentage of newly identified HIV-positive test results was among transgender people: 2.1 percent.