A trio of House Democrats have introduced during a year with the highest recorded deaths of transgender and non-binary people a resolution that would officially recognize the annual occasion.
The measure was introduced by Reps. Marie Newman (D-Ill.), Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) and Jennifer Wexton (D-Va.), who are known as vocal transgender advocates and members of the Transgender Equality Task Force, as part of group of 62 members of the U.S. House, according to a statement from the LGBTQ Equality Caucus. The resolution would commemorate Nov. 20 as the Transgender Day of Remembrance.
Newman, who’s been open about having a young transgender daughter, said in a statement violence against transgender Americans, particularly Black and Brown transgender women, has become a “national epidemic.”
“With this resolution, we are not only recognizing the far too many souls lost to violence this year but also honoring their memory with a commitment to fight against anti-trans hate, rhetoric and violence,” Newman said. “Transgender Americans face hateful and disgusting attacks — verbal and physical — every single day just for simply existing in the world, and each of us has a fundamental obligation to speak out against it.”
The Transgender Day of Remembrance comes with 2021 having the highest number of recorded killings of transgender and non-binary people in a single year. A total of 47 deaths have been recorded, according to the LGBTQ Equality Caucus.
Wexton said in a statement the ongoing deaths of transgender people are “cannot be overlooked or ignored,” calling 2021 the deadliest year on record.
“Our trans friends and neighbors face greater threats of violence, bullying, and discrimination in nearly every aspect of their lives, and they deserve justice and equality,” Wexton said.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, under questioning from the Washington Blade last week on whether President Biden was briefed on 2021 being the deadliest year on record for transgender people, said the grim milestone is “terrible and heartbreaking” although she said she was unsure on whether Biden was briefed.
The White House hasn’t responded with any update on whether or not Biden has been briefed as of the eve of the Transgender Day of Remembrance.
Jayapal, who in addition to being a transgender advocate has been the face of the $1.75 trillions Build Back Better plan approved recently in the House, said in a statement the names of each of the transgender dead should be spoken aloud, the action should follow.
“Our resolution acknowledges this truth as we continue our dedicated work to strengthen hate crime laws, pass the Equality Act through the Senate, and ensure that every transgender person is able to live freely as themselves,” Jayapal said.
An LGBTQ Equality Caucus spokesperson didn’t respond Friday to the Blade’s request to comment on whether House leadership gave the sponsors of the legislation any indication the resolution would obtain a floor vote.