What is Trans Awareness Week and why it’s important

Observed between November 13 and 19, Trans Awareness Week aims to encourage people to take action to bring attention to trans lives.

This article is about Trans Awareness Week. In the photo, a hand holding several small trans flags.
Image: Via Shutterstock - Stockfb

This week marks Trans Awareness Week, an annual observance commemorated in November all around the world with the goal of increasing understanding about the specific challenges faced by transgender people, but also celebrating their resilience and achievements.

Coming between November 13 and 19, Trans Awareness Week aims to encourage people to take action to bring attention to trans lives. The trans community worldwide faces many confounding challenges, including barriers to receiving healthcare, discrimination in housing and employment practices and lack of appropriate representation in decision-making bodies, to name a few.

During the week, events are organised around the globe to educate the public, share trans stories and advocate for their rights. Moreover, the annual observance has the goal of recognising the resilience of the trans community, especially in the face of continuous political attacks and the rise of anti-trans rhetoric in recent years.

The week culminates in Transgender Day of Remembrance, commemorated on November 20, when trans groups and LGBTQ+ organisations host vigils to honour the lives lost to transphobic violence. The Day of Remembrance was founded in 1999 by activist Gwendolyn Ann Smith to mourn Rita Hester, a trans woman who was killed in 1998, and to remember all the other trans folks who were killed during the year.


According to a report published by Trans Murder Monitoring, 320 trans and gender-diverse people were murdered between October 2022 and September 2023, with most victims being trans women of colour and trans sex workers. Data showed a worrying global trend of particularly acute violence when trans people are attacked because of the intersection of transphobia, misogyny, whorephobia, racism and xenophobia.

Earlier this year, news outlets reported on the brutal deaths of two young trans women, Brianna Ghey and Eden Knight. 16-year-old Brianna Ghey was found dead on the afternoon of February 11 in Linear Park, England, with two local teens arrested in connection with the murder.


23-year-old Eden Knight died by suicide on March 13, after allegedly being coerced into ‘de-transitioning’ by her family and brought back to her home country, Saudi Arabia. These are just two of the people who will be honoured this year during vigils around the world, with TENI organising a memorial service in Dublin on Saturday, November 18.

Trans Awareness Week is also the perfect time to learn how to be a good ally to trans folk. We can do so by educating ourselves on trans and non-binary identities, furthering our understanding of the specific challenges they face and amplifying their voices.

If we learn to identify instances of discrimination and hate, we are better equipped to speak up against it and be active bystanders. Moreover, we need to understand the scope of issues, such as lack of legislation and hateful rhetoric, to collectively advocate for trans rights and advance equality for all.


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