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11th Annual Transgender Remembrance

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) Today marks the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance, memorializing those lost to anti-transgender violence over the past year. The National LGBT Task Force is honoring the memory of transgender people killed internationally in 2009.

This year has seen some inroads in dealing with hate violence, notably the enactment of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, covering sexual orientation and gender identity. The National Transgender Discrimination Survey, a forthcoming joint study from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and National Center for Transgender Equality, found over one quarter of transgender people lost a job for being transgender, found high rates of housing instability and homelessness, and double the rates of poverty compared to the general population. Although only preliminary findings are available at this time, these data indicate that transgender people have higher vulnerability to violence.

Said Rea Carey, Executive Director National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, “The Task Force family joins in the somber and profound remembrance of those lost to anti-transgender violence, and we pledge to continue our work until all are safe and protected. While the enactment of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act is an important step, we must press forward to ensure transgender people are able to live their lives free from discrimination and violence.

“Our forthcoming report on transgender discrimination spotlights just how widespread discrimination and bias continue to be for transgender people. Enactment of the federal hate crimes law was critical, but we also need passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. Federal employment protection is key to providing stability and a fair playing field for transgender people. Our data show that many of the severe problems transgender people face are rooted in job loss or workplace harassment and bias, which can force productive transgender employees off the payrolls and onto the unsafe streets. This must end now, and we must continue working toward a culture that affirms the dignity and worth of all people.”