Observing Transgender Day of Remembrance on Nov. 20

The Transgender Day of Remembrance is observed annually on November 20 to honor the people killed by anti-transgender violence and celebrate the community members who are still with us. The Transgender Education Network of Texas (TENT) and Austin Black Pride will be holding this year’s ceremony on Wednesday, Nov. 20, from 7-9pm in the TownLake YMCA gymnasium, followed by a mixer and a community conversation.

“This is an opportunity to show support for trans YMCA members and staff as well as welcome new people and the wider community into our space,” said Rev. Erin Walter, TownLake YMCA Community Engagement Director.

“Trans members, staff, and community members have long been a vital part of the YMCA,” Rev. Walter said. “We hope the Y opening its doors for the Day of Remembrance will help show trans youth that they are welcome here, underscore to trans elders that they are seen and valued members of our Y programs, and show the whole community that the Y is for all.”

The Transgender Day of Remembrance is both a solemn time – mourning the loss of trans people who have been killed, most of whom are black trans women – and a time to come together in support, celebration, and community care.

“The Day of Remembrance was, historically, the only place in Austin that trans folks regularly gathered,” said Katy Koonce, a longtime YMCA member, nonbinary activist, musician and psychotherapist who predominantly serves the trans community. “There was fear, and there was shame in the early years, and it was a hard sell. But the turnout in the last 10 years or so and the crucial involvement of people of color has been a leap forward.”

Nearby offsite event parking is available west of the facility, contributed by Y neighbors Austin Pets Alive and Austin High, so that Y members are still able to park in the TownLake lot for general facility use.  

YMCA of Austin board member Danielle Skidmore, an engineer, parent, and longtime Y member, said: “As a YMCA board member and a member of the transgender community, when my friends at the Transgender Education Network of Texas told me that the TownLake YMCA was going to host the 2019 TDOR, it made me so happy and proud to be part of both communities.”

In the long run, supporters hope increased visibility for the Transgender Day of Remembrance will lead to decreased transphobia and anti-trans violence, saving the lives of some of the most marginalized members of our community.

For more information, Spanish language information, or to register for the 2019 Transgender Day of Remembrance, see the Facebook event



Erin Walter
All opinions expressed here are those of their authors and/or contributors and not of their employer. Any questions or concerns regarding the content found here may be sent to info@austinymca.org

Contribute to the Y

We believe that lasting personal and social change can only come about when we all work together to invest in our kids, our health and our neighbors. As the leading nonprofit committed to helping everyone thrive at each stage of life, we are uniquely positioned to take on new and long-standing challenges more comprehensively than anyone else.

Your support through the YMCA of Austin’s Annual Giving Campaign makes this possible.