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Standing in solidarity: Transgender Day of Remembrance 2021

‘Join us on Nov. 20 in witnessing and in celebration of our lost family’
Transgender Day of Remembrance 2021 text with light pink and light blue wisps. (Getty Images)
Transgender Day of Remembrance is on Nov. 20, 2021. (Getty Images)

Oregon Health & Science University’s Transgender Health Program acknowledges Transgender Day of Remembrance/Resilience occurring every year on Nov. 20.   As shared by the THP in past communications, we wish to raise awareness of this day of remembrance within the OHSU community and beyond. 

The THP now calls on OHSU members to actively stand in solidarity during Transgender Day of Remembrance and every day. We invite everyone to reflect on ways to become, or continue to develop, as a champion and ally.  One of the greatest protective factors against harm, violence and trauma is to respect, listen, and learn from transgender and gender diverse people.  As part of the health care community, you can contribute to and celebrate the strength and resilience among transgender and gender diverse communities, thus contributing to meaningful impact on their lives.  The Transgender Health Program is also here to help!

Some specific opportunities to learn, create more visibility, and celebrate transgender and gender diverse communities include:

  • Listen to and learn from members of these communities by attending a Transgender Health Program Grand Rounds event, which offers free CME.
  • Add pronouns to your OHSU ID badge and email signature lines.
  • Promote introductions of chosen names and pronouns in team meetings, with colleagues, and in direct patient care.
  • Interrupt misgendering if/when you hear it taking place.
  • Update patient medical charts to ensure chosen name, gender and pronoun are all listed accurately.
  • Learn how to use gender-neutral language, including neutral pronouns.
  • Examine your immediate work and patient care environment to create more gender expansiveness.
  • Reflect on bias and dismantle assumptions about gender as limited to a binary of just feminine and masculine.
  • Be willing to be uncomfortable while you learn.
  • Contact transhealth@ohsu.edu to request training for your team or for a consult.
  • Read more about becoming a trans ally.

The Transgender Health Program is proud to have developed a Community Advisory Board to guide OHSU in the design and delivery of services and support.  From its inception in 2019, the program helped tackle priority topics, such as creating an affirming and welcoming environment for transgender and gender diverse communities, reviewing policy, promoting community engagement, and contributing to workforce education initiatives. The Transgender Health Program Community Adivsory Board has specifically prepared a Transgender Day of Remembrance communication for the OHSU community:

As students, professional, and volunteers in service to the transgender community, and as members of the community ourselves, Transgender Day of Remembrance on Nov. 20 is the day each year we reckon ourselves to the loss of so many of the bright lights we’ve had in our community and in our hearts. We feel a tearing in our spirit as we recognize the 375 beautiful, brilliant lights in our community lost to violence and murder over this past year; an inconceivable number that continues to grow in leaps and bounds. We hear our Portland sisters and siblings; Tete Gulley, Jessi Hart and Nikki Kuhnhausen crying out for justice.

We feel the close ghosts of those innumerable luminaries who were silently snuffed out by the violence of our systems; those who died from systemic injustice pleading to be witnessed. They died by suicide, by pneumonia, by alcohol poisoning, but in truth, they were equally murdered by a system that seeks to erase us.

Today we entreat you to look beyond the walls of your office, to step out of your safe box of health care and to take a stand for our transgender community. The treatment we need will not come from a pill, not a prescription, not a treatise on the personal failings of our addictions. What we need is radical systemic change. Only when we are no longer seen by this culture as disposable, no longer erased and outcast, will healing be able to begin. You have power, you have privilege: use them for good.

Join us on Nov. 20 in witnessing and in celebration of our lost family. Learn our names. Let them pass your lips with prayer and promise that we are worth more, and that you will fight to keep us alive.

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