Trans Awareness Week: Celebrate in Memphis Nov. 14-20

by Kayla Gore, OUTMemphis Transgender Services Specialist | photo by Focus staff 

Statistics from studies by the National Center for Transgender Equality show a high rate of anti-LGBT+ violence, and that black trans women are disproportionately affected by this violence.

According to the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey, one in nine respondents were physically attacked in the past year because they were transgender. This year alone, we’ve lost 22 trans people to violence from as far as Las Vegas, Nev., to as near as Canton, Miss. where Mesha Caldwell was killed and left to die on a deserted road. Coincidently, her funeral was held only a block away from where she took her last breath.

Data relating to reported deaths of trans people don’t accurately reflect actual deaths. We are often misgendered in police reports, news media, and on official documents, all of which are problems for trans communities in the South related to systemic inequities of access. Without access to legal transition (usually due to high costs), we can’t accurately be counted.

The life expectancy of a trans woman of color is 35 years. The average annual income of trans women is $12,000. Without access to life saving tools of prevention like routine sexual reproductive health screenings, PreP and PeP services like those provided at OUTMemphis, legal transition, and gender care services, that life expectancy can be drastically shortened. This year the majority of the trans people murdered were under the age of 30.

Bringing awareness of trans violence is traumatic for many members of the trans and gender non-conforming (GNC) community, but we endure and create social events to share in the process of grief and celebration of life. We also must keep trans persons lives visible in death and pursue justice in their name, a justice that is rarely seen.

One of the most notorious trans murders was the death of Marsha P. Johnson (cold case-unsolved) New York, Duanna Johnson (case cold- unsolved) Memphis, Tenn., and most recently the trans LatinX woman Nikki Janelle Enriquez (suspect captured) in Texas.


Memphis transgender activist and model, Jasmine Tasaki

According to blogger Monica Roberts (transgriot., Enriquez was one of the victims of a U.S. border patrol agent who has been arrested for killing four women in September.

Living in the South and being transgender can be very dangerous. Transgender Awareness Week 2018 is time to spread awareness of the lives we as trans and GNC people live.

Many organizations, groups, and individuals will join nationally to celebrate Trans Awareness Week. Here in Memphis we plan on celebrating each day starting November 14 with our 3rd Annual Ice Cream Social hosted at OUTMemphis, and ending on November 20 with a TDOR Celebration and release of OUTMemphis’ “Trans Best of Memphis Guide” at The Haven Memphis.

The events that are planned nationwide are opportunities for our allies to learn more ways to support local trans people; it’s also an opportunity to share space and uplift our trans and gender non- conforming community members.

Transgender Awareness Week ends with Transgender Day of Remembrance, which is a time we uplift those lives lost to anti-trans violence.

For a complete guide to Awareness Events happening in the Memphis area Contact OUTMemphis 901.278.6422 or, Facebook, Instagram @OUTMemphis.

Also consider becoming a sustaining donor of the OUTMemphis Trans Services Fund. The fund provides sometimes lifesaving support to the trans and GNC community. You can make a donation via our website at, or in person or via mail at 892 South Cooper Street. Make checks payable to OUTMemphis with the note ‘Trans Services.’


Wed. Nov 14 | 6-8 p.m.
OUTMemphis, 892 South Cooper Street
The 3rd annual ice cream social is an opportunity for local community members to share space and connect with others in the fight for equity of all trans and gender non-conforming people in the greater Memphis area.

Thurs. Nov 15 | 6-8 p.m.
OUTMemphis, 892 South Cooper Street
Join us as we have a human resource specialist guide us through creating a resume, CV, and cover letter that stands out to employers. Bring your resume for one-on-one guidance.

Fri. Nov 16 | 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
OUTMemphis, 892 South Cooper Street
This day, we as trans and gender non-conforming people give back. Trans people are known for their kindness and generosity; we take this day to share the love and support we’ve received with those experiencing homelessness.

Sun. Nov 18 | All Day | Anywhere you’re comfortable Self-care is very important to all people. This week is draining and can be traumatic for some trans/GNC people. Today we should rest, shop, socialize, do absolutely nothing, etc. Whatever brings you peace and light, just do it!

Mon. Nov 19 | 6-9 p.m.
OUTMemphis, 892 South Cooper Street
The Transilient crew is openly inviting diverse members of the transgender and gender non- conforming community to attend for interview and photo sessions. Transilient intends to tell stories of healing, exploration, successes, and aspirations by sharing the voices of trans and GNC people in their own words.
Hosted by Lexi Kay

Tues. Nov 20 | 6-9 p.m.
The Haven, 206 G.E. Patterson
Transgender Day of Remembrance is always observed on November 20th. We hold this day to remember the lives led by those we’ve lost due to anti-trans violence. Join us as we share in conversation about how to protect trans people and a vigil in honor of those brave lives gone too soon.
Hosted by Nia Brooke Smith with live entertainment!

For more information: | 901.278.6422