GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — Every year on Nov. 20, the LGBTQ community comes together in order to remember lives lost over the previous year.

It’s called the Transgender Day of Remembrance, a holiday that began in 1999, founded by Gwendolyn Ann Smith as a vigil to honor Rita Hester, a trans woman that was murdered in 1998.

On Sunday, Greensboro’s Transgender Task Force will host a vigil from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Melvin Municipal Office Building in downtown Greensboro.

“This event will highlight the Greensboro community’s losses due to anti-transgender bigotry and violence, and raise awareness of the importance of continuing to fight for justice,” the city says in a news release.

In Greenville, ECU will be hosting an event on Sunday as well.

The LGBTQ+ Center at Wake Forest University hosted several programs related to Trans Awareness Week and Trans Day of Remembrance over the course of the week.

The day is the culmination of Trans Awareness Week, where people come together to remember people who have been lost and advocate for a world “in which trans people are no longer targets for hate.” It is meant to be a week that uplifts people within the community.

Last year was the deadliest year for transgender people on record with at least 57 transgender or gender non-conforming people killed. Three of them were from North Carolina: Jenna Franks, Jaida Peterson and Remy Fennell.

So far in 2022, at least 32 transgender or gender nonconforming people have died.

“At least” is used because it’s difficult to get exact numbers due to underreporting or misgendering of transgender victims.

The Human Rights Campaign has been tracking violence against the transgender community for a decade, but transgender people have become a hot-button issue across the nation in recent years, and the HRC directly blames the political rhetoric around them for the uptick in violence.

Since 2013, the HRC has tracked at least 300 deaths of transgender, non-binary or gender non-conforming people. In those cases, they have found the following:

  • 85% of victims were people of color. Approximately 69% were Black and 15% were Hispanic /Latino
  • 77% were under the age of 35
  • 69% of deaths involved a gun
  • 15 people were killed by police or while incarcerated in jails, prisons, or ICE detention centers. 2 of those were in 2022
  • 40% remain unsolved
  • In cases where the killer was known or caught, 65% were killed by a person they knew. 19% were killed by an intimate partner, 9.7% by a friend or family member and 36% by an acquaintance
  • 70% of victims were misgendered in initial reporting

Conspiracy theories, doxing campaigns, nationalist groups protesting drag events, and lawmakers calling parents of transgender children abusers are all compounding what the HRC calls a “shockingly large wave of anti-transgender legislation.”

The lives lost in 2022 are: Amariey LejDuval PrincessCypress RamosNaomie SkinnerMatthew Angelo SpampinatoPaloma VazquezTatiana LabelleKathryn “Katie” NewhouseKenyatta “Kesha” WebsterMiia Love ParkerAriyanna MitchellFern FeatherRay MuscatNedra Sequence MorrisChanelika Y’Ella Dior HemingwaySasha MasonBrazil JohnsonShawmaynè Giselle MarieKitty MonroeMartasia RichmondKeshia Chanel GeterCherry BushMarisela CastroHayden DavisKandii ReddAaron LynchMaddie HofmannDede RicksMya AllenAcey MorrisonSemaj Billingslea, and Tiffany Banks.