Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis has issued a statement commemorating this weekend’s International Transgender Day of Remembrance:
SOLIS: What began as an online project in 1999 to memorialize the murder of a transgender person will this year include hundreds of vigils and events throughout the country and around the world. I hope that this year’s commemoration will serve as an opportunity to shine a brighter light on both progress made and the challenges ahead.[...]
I am proud to say that the Department of Labor this year joined other executive branch agencies in updating its policy on equal employment opportunity and its policy on harassing conduct in the workplace to specifically prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity. And I am also proud that transgender individuals serve openly at the U.S. Department of Labor. [...]
On this day of remembrance, as we pause to reflect on the lives that have been lost, we renew our commitment to an America that celebrates and values every person.
The International Transgender Day of Remembrance (#TDOR) began in the late 1990′s to raise awareness about violence against transgender people. In just the first nine months of 2011, 116 individuals have been murdered worldwide just because they are transgender, and this is likely a low estimate due to under-reporting. That number is also already outdated, as another trans woman was murdered just last night in Hollywood.
Solis has been an outspoken advocate for LGBT equality. In April, the Department of Labor extended nondiscrimination protections based on gender identity, and last year, Solis and her department recorded an “It Gets Better” video: