With Special Guest, Film Actress, Mya Taylor from “Tangerine”

By Lisa Morgan

“Einstein and Tesla were all children at one time.  We really need to protect our youth. You never know what gifts they are going to give our world.” Thomi Clinton, Founder of the Transgender Community Coalition and Tdor Palm Springs

Location: Ruth Hardy Park, Palm Springs California at the Rose Garden


Address: 700 Tamarisk Lane, Palm Springs, California 92262

Time: Nov. 20, 5:00 to 9:00 PM

TDOR Vigil Time: 7:00 to 8:00 PM

The numbers of violent crimes toward transgender people, hate crimes resulting in murder, and the high number of suicides, some among children as young as 14, are jarring.  This Friday, November 20, starting at 5:00, an event will take place in hopes of honoring the lives that have been taken and to create opportunity for awareness and understanding, ultimately lowering those numbers.  “We have the highest rate of murders and suicides ever documented.  It is important to address this,” shared Thomi Clinton, Founder of the Transgender Community Coalition and Tdor Palm Springs.  “No matter what belief system we have, I think we can all agree that violence and suicide is not the way.”

According to the Office for Victims of Crime (www.ovc.gov), statistics documenting transgender people’s experience indicate shockingly high levels of sexual abuse and assault:

One in two transgender individuals are sexually abused or assaulted at some point in their lives. Some reports estimate that transgender survivors may experience rates of sexual assault up to 66 percent, often coupled with physical assaults or abuse. This indicates that the majority of transgender individuals are living with the aftermath of trauma and the fear of possible repeat victimization.  Sexual violence has been found to be even higher in some subpopulations within the transgender community, including transgender youth, transgender people of color, individuals living with disabilities, homeless individuals, and those who are involved in the sex trade.

The 2011, Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, found that 12 percent of transgender youth report being sexually assaulted in K–12 settings by peers or educational staff; 13 percent of African-American transgender people surveyed were sexually assaulted in the workplace; and 22 percent of homeless transgender individuals were assaulted while staying in shelters; 15 percent of transgender individuals report being sexually assaulted while in police custody or jail, which more than double (32 percent) for African-American transgender people.

HATE CRIME:  According to the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP), acts of hate violence, such as harassment, stalking, vandalism, and physical and sexual assault, are often supported by more socially sanctioned expressions of transphobia, biphobia, and homophobia and are intended to send a message to LGBTQ communities. It goes on to state that many LGBTQ people also face substantial bias because they belong to other traditionally marginalized groups such as race, class, incarceration history, immigration status, or ability.  In the NCAVP 2009 report on hate violence, 50 percent of people who died in violent hate crimes against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people were transgender women; the other half were male, many of whom were gender non-conforming.  Sexual assault and/or genital mutilation before or after their murder were a frequent occurrence.

In 2009, 17 percent of all reported violent hate crimes against LGBTQ people were directed against those who identified themselves as transgender, with most (11 percent of all hate crimes) identifying as transgender women. The remainder identified as transgender men, genderqueer, gender questioning, or intersex.

FAMILIES AND CHILDREN: In February, GLAAD released its “Accelerating Acceptance” report, which surveyed thousands of Americans on their feelings toward the LGBTQ community from their stance on marriage equality to their level of comfort with LGBTQ people in different settings of everyday life.  “The results, presented in cold, hard statistics, were a sobering reminder that despite a general move toward embracing LGBTQ civil rights under the law, there remains a layer of uneasiness and discomfort with LGBTQ people for much of the American public.”

Roughly a third of non-LGBTQ parents polled said they would be uncomfortable sending their children on a playdate at the home of an LGBTQ parent, and nearly half said they would be uncomfortable bringing their child to the wedding of a same-sex couple. For transgender parents, the reality is even more unwelcoming, with the rate of discomfort jumping to 40 percent if a playdate were to take place in one of their homes.

“These statistics rocked me, and say nothing of the troubling views many Americans hold toward children who display gender nonconforming behaviors,” stated the GLAAD president. “For a truly accepting society, all parents should be supportive of both their own children and other families in their community. With the country now at the doorstep of full marriage equality, these are the types of negative sentiments and prevailing attitudes that we must work to overcome.  Closing the gap on full acceptance of LGBTQ people will not come from legislation or judicial decisions alone, but from a deeper understanding and empathy from Americans themselves.”  www.glaad.org/blog/glaad-president-accelerates-acceptance-lgbtqfamilies-around-country

Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) was founded in 1999, by Gwendolyn Ann Smith.  Since then, it has become globally recognized, held on or around November 20th of each year.  Our local, “green,” solar powered event, only in its second year, will host over 30 vendor booths representing transgender business owners and their allies.  A vigil will be held between 7 pm – 8 pm.  Names of America’s transgender people lost to murder, suicide and/or who were victims of silicone deaths will be read off one by one.  The public, whether transgender or allies, are invited to attend this peaceful candlelight vigil that hopes to bring public awareness to the violence and oppression against the Transgender community and support the need to end it.  “With everything going on in the world,” shared Clinton, “I think we all could really use this.”

For more information on the event and the movement toward awareness and understanding, go to  transcc.org/tdor-palm-springs.html or check out the new publication, Monarch Magazine, full of resources at transcc.org/monarch-magazine.html