Honoring Transgender Day of Remembrance

Chicago, ILNovember 19th, 2020

On Friday, November 20, Transgender Day of Remembrance honors those lost to anti-transgender violence. It was sparked by the November 1998 murder of Rita Hester, an active member of Boston’s transgender community, just days before her 35th birthday. Fearless and with a love of life, she was respected in the community, and had been known for taking younger transwomen under her wing. A year after her death, advocate and writer Gwendolyn Ann Smith organized a vigil in Rita’s honor and for all who have fallen to anti-transgender violence.

In these times of uncertainty and challenge, TPAN remains firmly committed to the safety and well-being of all individuals of trans experience. With programs such as our drop-in center, the Tea Room, TPAN provides at-risk and homeless trans and queer youth with basic essentials such as hygiene items, food, clothing, and even the opportunity to do their own laundry. As the new CEO here at TPAN, I wanted to take this opportunity to share how very important, not only this day is to me and to our entire community, but also how very important the health, safety and inalienable rights of the transgender community are to us all. For me, personally, I nearly lost my own nephew just a short time ago. He is one of the most beautiful, loving, giving human beings I have ever known in the world. He is my world. He is trans. Even with the love and support of our entire family, he has suffered through some extremely terrifying times, struggled through heartbreaking days and courageously remains so very resilient despite it all.

Not everyone in the trans community has such support and that is one reason TPAN stands here to be just that. I am proud to not only be the aunt of a young transgender man, but to be in his presence and stand in his light. We should all be so lucky. Today, we should not be forced to worry about his life every day or the lives of any of the transgender lives in our world.These are human beings who deserve every bit of love, respect and decency reserved for all. Today, we remember all of the lives lost so tragically and we celebrate the lives who are living through every day. Please take a moment to remember with us and to show more love and kindness to the transgender souls who fill our world in such a special way.
~Colleen O'Neill, TPAN CEO

As we head into #GivingTuesday and World AIDS Day we ask you to consider supporting TPAN and our efforts to continue to provide much-needed resources to the transgender community during this very critical time. We know we are all walking through uncharted waters right now. We ask you to take just a moment to consider how difficult those waters are for the transgender community who walks through those so much deeper,and so much more dangerous every day. You can help us continue our work by donating to our #GivingTuesday campaign and sharing the link with your own community and spreading awareness on this important issue.


Kara Eastman
5537 N Broadway St
Chicago, IL 60640
Ph: (773) 989-9400