Rallies, discussions and candlelight vigils take place across the U.S. on November 20.
Friday, November 20 marks Transgender Day of Remembrance. Lambda Legal salutes advocates in communities and on campuses from coast to coast who are using the day to remember those who have lost their lives to hatred and violence.
“We remember those transgender people who have been harmed by hate and discrimination, and we remember those who have been killed,” said Lambda Legal Executive Director Kevin Cathcart in a statement. “But remembering is not enough. We will keep working for equality.”
Lambda Legal has long been at the forefront of the fight for transgender rights. Currently Lambda Legal is lead counsel on a suit against the Georgia General Assembly’s Legislative Counsel on behalf of Vandy Beth Glenn, who was fired from her job as a legislative editor because she is transgender. On October 27, Lambda Legal also filed a complaint against a Philadelphia youth detention facility on behalf of a transgender girl who was physically attacked by residents and verbally abused by staff for a year and a half. The complaint, filed by Lambda Legal with the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations (PCHR), claims that the Youth Study Center violated the Philadelphia Fair Practices Ordinance, which prohibits harassment and discrimination on the basis of gender identity, sexual orientation, sex and disability.
“Transgender people in this country too often face harassment, discrimination and physical violence,” Cathcart said. “This is unacceptable and must end.”
In September, Lambda Legal client Glenn bravely and movingly testified at a hearing on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) before the House Education and Labor Committee, urging officials to pass it. In addition, Lambda Legal sent a letter to the leadership of the committee explaining its support for the bill.
“My editorial skills had not changed,” Glenn said at the hearing. “My work ethic had not changed — I was still ready and willing to burn the midnight oil with my colleagues, making sure that every bill was letter–perfect. My commitment to the General Assembly, to its leaders, and to [Sewell] Brumby had not faltered. The only thing that changed was my gender.”
In June, Cathcart called for swift passage of an inclusive version of ENDA, stating it “would ensure that in most workplaces a person’s qualifications and job performance, rather than sexual orientation or gender identity, will be the factors that determine success on the job.”
“Despite the fact that the majority of Americans favor equal rights for lesbians and gay men with regard to job opportunities, less than half of all states specifically ban workplace discrimination in the private sector based on sexual orientation and even fewer states expressly ban discrimination based on gender identity,” he says.