Abortion is legal in Maine and available at our Center! Learn More

Transgender Day of Remembrance

At Mabel Wadsworth Center, our interns are responsible for updating the bulletin board in our waiting room once a month. Past topics have included healthy relationships, safer sex, abortion stories and more. In case you haven’t had the chance to visit us during November, you can read about our bulletin board here.  This post is by our fall intern, Meghan Frisard, a student at the University of Maine.

*CW: murder, transphobia

The week of November 14th-20th is  Transgender Awareness Week, which serves to help increase visibility of transgender people and inspire action against transphobia and bias. November 20th is the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoR), a day that honors and remembers the transgender people who lost their lives in acts of anti-transgender violence. The event began in 1999 in San Francisco to remember the life of Rita Hester, a transwoman who was murdered in Boston in 1998. Rita Hester was not, and still is not, a household name, but she was murdered just a month after Matthew Shepard was murdered by homophobic assailants in Laramie, Wyoming. Matthew Shepard, however, often is a household name and the reporting on his murder was widespread and accurate. Many members of the transgender community, in Boston and nationwide, felt that Rita’s death was not publicized in the same way as many murders of cisgender people are and that the reason for this difference was due to transphobia. More about Rita Hester’s murder can be found here.

Of all trans people murdered in America every year, a disproportionate amount of the victims are trans women of color, just as Rita Hester was. The Transgender Day of Remembrance serves to keep us conscious of how transphobic violence is still happening in America, and how many Americans and institutions are unfazed by such violence. Transgender murder victims are often misgendered by the police and media outlets, which makes any accurate data collection of transgender murders challenging. Join us in Bangor to commemorate Transgender Day of Remembrance at UMA-Bangor (the college campus near the airport), information can be found here.

Still unsure what transgender means? Sex, gender, and sexuality are not the same thing. Transgender (or “trans” for short) is an umbrella term that generally encompasses anyone whose gender identity does not correspond with the sex they were assigned at birth.  This graphic of a “genderbread person” helps break down these complicated concepts. For more information about transgender people and their experiences, check out this local source: Maine Transnet.

At Mabel Wadsworth Center, we provide hormone therapy for transgender clients and make every effort to ensure our trans clients feel safe. Hormone therapy is an option for transgender people to help them to feel more at ease in their body by taking higher doses of sex hormones (testosterone and estrogen) than what the body naturally produces. Not all trans people choose to take hormones, just as not all trans people choose to have gender-affirming surgery. Providing culturally competent healthcare to the trans community is essential to their health and safety. We are grateful to the Maine Women’s Fund for their generous support in helping us to better serve folks in this community.