November 17, 2021
Transgender Day of Remembrance

Since 1999, the Transgender Day of Remembrance has been observed annually on November 20, following the murder of Rita Hester.

Rita Hester was a Black transgender woman from Massachusetts who was killed in 1998 in her own apartment. Her case remains unsolved. The lack of media attention over her murder highlighted the disproportionate ways in which the death of Black, queer, and trans people are taken up in public discourse.

As a result, an outpouring of grief and anger sparked a movement and an annual vigil that honours Rita Hester and the lives of transgender people. Known as the Transgender Day of Remembrance, the day seeks to commemorate the trans, two-spirit, and non-binary people who have lost their lives to violence and transphobia.

The Survey of Safety in Public and Private Spaces (SSPPS) provides national data on the prevalence of violence experienced by transgender individuals in Canada. It was the first large-scale, nationally representative survey from Statistics Canada. Conducted in 2018, it focused on the experiences of queer and non-binary individuals. The survey’s findings were released in September 2020 and the data shows that transgender people are more likely to be a target of abuse and violence in public, online, and at work.

UFCW Canada believes that every person deserves the right to dignity and equity at work, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation. 

UFCW’s constituency group for LGBTQ12S issues and advocacy, UFCW OUTreach, in collaboration with the UCLA Labor Center, has released a first-ever report that offers an analysis of the labour movement’s role in working to end systemic and institutional inequities at work. The study surveyed 1,004 UFCW members across the United States and Canada regarding their workplace rights. The report demonstrates the concrete ways in which union representation, collective bargaining, and collective action have been able to achieve workplace policies that help to eradicate homophobia and transphobia in the workplace and beyond. To read the full report, entitled “Union Values and LGBTQ+ Worker Experiences: A Survey of UFCW Workers in the United States and Canada,” click here.

For more information on our union’s efforts to advance LGBTQI2S rights, visit UFCW Canada’s Supporting LGBTQI2S Rights webpage. You can also check out our work with UFCW OUTreach by visiting the UFCW OUTreach website.