The History of Transgender Awareness Week

  Body Image, Blog

You could argue that transgender awareness has increased significantly in recent years; between the largely positive press received by Caitlyn Jenner and the advocacy of shows like Orange is the New Black, there is certainly a case to be made. And yet, there is still much work to be done in raising awareness for the transgender community and the issues this community faces—which is what makes Transgender Awareness Week so vital.

This year’s Transgender Awareness Week is in full swing, lasting from November 14 through November 20. Its purpose is simple—to provide a spotlight for people who do not conform to traditional gender perceptions, and to the transgender community in particular.

Though the week encompasses a celebration of transgender individuals, it also carries much solemnity—especially on the Transgender Day of Remembrance, set aside to honor lives lost in acts of anti-transgender violence.

Transgender advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith was the originator of this day, initially conceived as a simple vigil for transgender woman Rita Hester, brutally murdered in 1998. Yet the day—like the week—isn’t just for Rita Hester; it’s for anyone and everyone the transgender community has lost in similar acts of hatred and prejudice.

The Transgender Day of Remembrance is scheduled for November 20 this year, capping off a weeklong reminder of all that the transgender community is and stands for—its vibrancy, its diversity, its spirit of inclusion. Those who wish to learn more about the vigil, or to see some of the names of folks to be remembered, can certainly do so at

Meanwhile, acts of education and advocacy will help make Transgender Awareness Week something more than a period of mourning; the event is also very much intended as a celebration, an optimistic look to the future. Certainly, we at Alsana Treatment Centers are hopeful that awareness for transgender issues will only rise through worthy events like this one. We have created a specific LGBT treatment solution that addresses the needs of a transgender client that not only encompasses compassion, but respect and dignity.

Join the conversation on Facebook, and tell us what Transgender Awareness Week means for you.


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