Today is Transgender Day of Remembrance, and a portion of Elon’s College Coffee was dedicated to remembering  and honoring transgender individuals who have lost their lives to transphobia. Kat Rands, Elon Education faculty, gave a wonderful speech, and led a moment of silence.

Hello everyone. My name is Kat Rands and I am a professor in the School of Education. It is an honor to introduce the Transgender Day of Remembrance. The Transgender Day of Remembrance has been set aside to honor those who have been killed out of fear and hatred of those who cross expected gender boundaries. Transgender refers to those who do not identify with the gender they were assigned at birth. Transgender is a broad term and there are many ways to be transgender. We have people who are trans at Elon in many different ways, including myself.  

From 2008 to 2011, more than 800 people worldwide have been killed out of transphobia. Eight-hundred people is a staggering number, but numbers tend to be a little abstract.  On a more personal level is the loss of Kendall Hampton this past summer on August 29th. Kendall was shot in the neighborhood around the high school I attended growing up in Cincinnati. This violent crime is thought to have been motivated by the shooter’s perception of and reaction to Kendall’s gender identity and expression. I did not know Kendall personally and now I never will.  The Cincinnati I return to tonight will be an emptier Cincinnati without Kendall. There is much sadness in the Transgender Day of Remembrance, but also much hope in the ways we can remember Kendall and all the others who have been lost.  We remember Kendall when we bring up trans people in positive ways in our classes and conversations. We remember Kendall when we insist on gender inclusive bathrooms. We remember Kendall when we stop someone from making negative comments about someone’s gender expression or gender identity. We remember Kendall when we advocate for trans-inclusive policies and legislation. As we take a moment of silence to memorialize and honor those who have been lost, we can also reflect on the ways we can honor those lost through our actions. Please join me in a moment of silence. Thank you.

For more on Transgender Day of Remembrance click here.

To learn more about transgender discrimination click here.

Click here for LGBTQ & Trans definitions.