Transgender Day of Remembrance was started in 1999 by transgender advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith to honor the memory of Rita Hester. Rita was a transgender woman who was killed due to anti-transgender violence in 1998. As of 2021, her murder remains unsolved.
Every day, transgender people face extraordinary levels of discrimination and violence. On November 20, communities gather to read and remember the names of those lost to anti-transgender violence that year.
The Risk of Substance Use Is Higher Among Transgender Individuals
Because the trans community faces a much higher risk of violence and discrimination, substance misuse is higher than those who identify as cisgender and/or heterosexual. Alcohol and other drugs are used to help cope with stress, and individuals may feel pressure to use a substance to better fit in with their peers.
Transgender individuals are also at higher risk of co-occurring disorders like PTSD, eating disorders, depression, and sexually transmitted infections and diseases. The lack of professional support and the fear of discrimination creates a barrier to seeking treatment for substance use disorder and other mental health concerns.
How You Can Help And Advocate For Your Transgender Neighbors
No matter who you are, you can help and learn to advocate for your transgender neighbors.
If you’re a medical professional, you can educate yourself and your staff on treating transgender individuals and creating a safe and inclusive environment in your office.
If you are transgender or know someone who is, know your healthcare rights. If you or someone you know is struggling with substance use disorder, know when and where to seek professional help. You can also donate to your local SUD treatment centers and advocacy groups.
No matter how you advocate, remember to stay safe and do a routine ‘buddy check.’
PreventEd Can Help
PreventEd is here for all of our community members. We work hard to advocate for access to safe healthcare and counseling for the trans community.
As a leader in preventing the harms of alcohol and drug use through education, intervention, and advocacy, we have the resources available to find safe and reliable transgender-specific SUD treatment for those who need it. We can also provide resources for those who are uninsured or underinsured.