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social sciences

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Holidays and Observances  
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Transgender Day of Remembrance

The Day of Remembrance, held in November, memorializes those who have been killed as a result of anti-transgender hatred or prejudice. The event began in 1998 to honor Rita Hester, whose murder on November 28, 1998 inspired the "Remembering Our Dead" web project and a San Francisco candlelight vigil in 1999. Since then, the Transgender Day of Remembrance has been observed in dozens of cities and at numerous colleges and universities.

The Transgender Day of Remembrance serves to raise public awareness of hate crimes against transgendered people, while also honoring the lives of individuals who might otherwise be forgotten.

Sponsor Message.

The website Remembering Our Dead, compiled by activist Gwen Smith and hosted by the Gender Education Association, offers information about the Day of Remembrance, lists some of the individuals whose lives have been honored by the memorials, and offers a guide to resources available to organize vigils in support of the observances.

World AIDS Day

To call attention to and mobilize support for the fight against the ongoing scourge of HIV/AIDS, UNAIDS (the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS) observed the first World AIDS Day on December 1, 1988. In 2005 the task of administering the project was transferred to the independent organization The World AIDS Campaign.

Given the widespread impact of the disease, much of the attention is on people who have contracted the virus by means other than same-sex sexual contact; nevertheless, World AIDS Day remains significant to glbtq people because of the devastating losses in the gay community due to HIV/AIDS.

Celebrate Bisexuality Day

Celebrate Bisexuality Day has been celebrated on September 23 since 1999. The observance was proposed by three bisexual rights activists, Wendy Curry, Michael Page, and Gigi Raven Wilbur, in order to help make bisexuality and pansexuality more visible and to recognize bisexual culture and history.

Another aim of the holiday is to help ease the marginalization that bisexuals sometimes feel within the glbtq communities as well as within the larger society.

The holiday is often celebrated on university campuses and other venues through events such as lectures, teach-ins, poetry readings, panels, and dances.

International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia

May 17 is celebrated as the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia, an annual event organized by the Canadian glbtq group Fondation Émergence.

The observance may be traced to 2003, when June 4 was designated as a Canadian National Day against Homophobia. As other countries evinced interest in celebrating a day against homophobia, May 17 was chosen as an appropriate date, since that was the day in 1990 that the World Health Organization removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders.

A human rights conference held in connection with the first world Outgames in Montréal in the summer of 2006 adopted the "Declaration of Montréal," whose final recommendation "calls on all the countries in the world, and the United Nations, to recognize and promote the 17th of May of each year as the International Day Against Homophobia."

Now organizations in more than 70 countries observe the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia. It has been officially recognized by the European Union Parliament, Spain, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Costa Rica, the Netherlands, France, Luxembourg, and Brazil, as well as by numerous local authorities across the world, such as the province of Quebec or the city of Buenos Aires.

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