Recognizing Trans Day of Remembrance and Resilience

Across our three campuses, the University of Toronto community will mark Trans Day of Remembrance and Resilience (TDORR) on November 20. This day began as a vigil honouring the life of Rita Hester, a Black trans woman brutally murdered in 1998. It quickly evolved into a day to remember and honour all individuals lost to transphobic violence. TDORR is recognized in countries around the world and is preceded by Trans Awareness Week, which aims to raise visibility of trans people, address issues members of the community face, and recognize the achievements of trans individuals locally and globally.

The University commemorates Trans Day of Remembrance and Resilience and Trans Awareness Week in full recognition that our world is increasingly hostile to individuals who identify as trans, Two Spirit, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming. Canada has experienced a recent rise in police-reported hate crimes targeting sex and gender. Efforts to ban books with 2SLGBTQ+ content and anti-trans protests at Drag Storytime events, school board meetings, and places of government are among the grim realities now shared by Canada and the United States.

As an institution that holds the protection of human rights at its core, our role is clear: we need to continue vital conversations and take action across our campuses to better support trans, nonbinary, and gender diverse members of the U of T community. Providing this support means calling out and addressing transphobic language or behaviour in our interactions. It means respecting and using the names and pronouns that our peers and colleagues identify for themselves. It involves ensuring that our campuses have spaces and services to promote community-building and belonging for trans and nonbinary students, faculty, librarians, and staff. Not least, it involves honouring the diversity that defines and benefits our entire institution by recognizing and celebrating trans and nonbinary students, faculty, librarians, and staff for the contributions they make to this institution and this community.

Fighting transphobia is an ongoing battle that encompasses words spoken, actions taken, and decisions made each day. It requires us all to recognize ourselves in each other. The University marks Trans Day of Remembrance and Resilience and Trans Awareness Week with programming designed for a broad range of affinities and identities. I encourage all members of our community to visit the website of the Sexual & Gender Diversity Office to find opportunities to participate and to learn.

Supports

Sexual & Gender Diversity Office: The SGDO is a tri-campus institutional equity office focused on fostering and supporting campus communities where 2SLGBTQ+ students, staff, faculty, and librarians feel included and find a sense of belonging.

If you are currently transitioning and would like to talk with someone about community supports, navigating U of T’s systems, and/or additional resources, please contact the Sexual & Gender Diversity Office at (416) 946-5624 or sgdo@utoronto.ca.

Sexual Violence Prevention & Support Centre: The Sexual Violence Prevention & Support Centre provides support to students, staff, and faculty at the University of Toronto who have been affected by sexual and gender-based violence.

Community Safety Office: CSO staff are available to provide support to students, staff, faculty, librarians, and community members.

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Office (EDIO) at UTM: The EDIO at UTM is a campus service for all UTM community members (students, staff, faculty, and librarians) that facilitates equity-, human rights, and inclusion-related programming, training, community engagement opportunities, and systemic change initiatives.

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Office (EDIO) at UTSC: The EDIO at UTSC is a central resource for all UTSC community members (students, staff, and faculty) to provide training, programming, and engagement initiatives related to equity, access, discrimination, and harassment.

If you are a student who needs immediate support, please call the Health & Wellness Centre at (416) 978-8030 to speak with a counsellor. Counselling is also available through the U of T Telus Health Student Support (formerly MySSP) 24/7 by calling 1 (844) 451-9700.

Staff and faculty members can access mental health resources and supports through the Employee & Family Assistance Program (EFAP). The 24/7 helpline at 1-800-663-1142 provides support for those experiencing grief, stress, and trauma.