The Transgender Day of Remembrance will be held on Nov. 20 across the globe. The annual celebration allows the community to pay respects to those who have lost their lives to bigotry and hatred. It was spearheaded by Gwen Smith and is in its 13th year.

Gwen Smith

In North Carolina, a number of candlelight vigils have been organized to address this horrific situation.

In Raleigh at the State Capitol Building,1 E. Edenton St., the community will assemble from 5:30-7 p.m. Following will be a gathering of light refreshments and snacks at the LGBT Center of Raleigh, 411 Hillsborough St. The center’s Transgender Initiative, the Human Rights Campaign and Equality North Carolina will serve as co-sponsors.

Down the road in Durham, participants will meet for the Night of Expression at Fullsteam Brewery, 726 Rigsbee Ave., from 6-10 p.m. Names will be read during the evening followed by a performances by Awakening C.H.A.N.G.E., Sam Peterson and Humble Tripe. Food will be provided by the city’s famous food trucks. A $5 contribution is suggested, with proceeds going to the center’s Transgender Initiative.

In Charlotte, community members will gather at the LGBT Center of Charlotte, 820 Hamilton St., Suite B11 at 6:30 p.m. Opening prayer will be delivered by Bishop Tonyia Rawls, Unity Fellowship Church of Charlotte. Local religious, professional and political leaders will be there to offer remarks, followed by a names reading. Afterward a reception will be held at the center.

Heading over to the mountains, in Asheville Just Us For All and the University of North Carolina at Asheville Alliance will join together with the community at Thomas Wolfe Auditorium in the Asheville Civic Center, 87 Haywood St., and will march to the Vance Monument where names will be read and some of their personal stories shared. Sam Soper, Just Us For All president, says that “Asheville has one of the largest and most visible transgender and gender-queer populations in the Southeast per capita.”

He also shared that the annual event helps to bring the issue of transgender deaths to the forefront. Transgender Murder Monitoring has calculated a total of 681 cases of reported killings of transgender people from Jan. 1, 2008 to Sept. 25, 2011. Names, ages, location, cause of death, circumstances of the killing and any follow-up have been plotted on a map, Soper continued. The majority of deaths have occurred in North and South America.

According to Soper, the Remembering Our Dead Project’s Gwendolyn Ann Smith shared that the media was reluctant to cover transgender deaths, adding that finding honest, reliable media is difficult. In fact, Smith said that she felt it either does not exist…or it uses names that the deceased did not own and pronouns that did not fit their reality.”

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Lainey Millen

Lainey Millen is QNotes' associate editor, special assignments writer, N.C. and U.S./World News Notes columnist and production director. She can be reached at and 704-531-9988,...