Positive Life NSW Logo 2021

Media Release

20 November 2021

Once again, Positive Life NSW joins all trans and gender diverse people and allies across the world today in observing the Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoR), held annually at the culmination of Trans Awareness Week, on 20 November to pay tribute to the memory of TGD people who have lost their lives to acts of transphobia and discrimination.

Positive Life Board Director and transgender woman, Natasha Io draws attention to the impact of the recent COVID-19 pandemic on the lives of the trans and gender diverse community. “As a transgender woman, the COVID pandemic has turned the clock back on the visible positive representation of all trans and gender diverse people in our society,” said Ms Io.

“Opportunistic predatory behaviour and violence against trans women has been exacerbated by the pandemic and its associated restrictions,” Natasha said. “Extraordinarily high levels of stigma and discrimination remain, further highlighting the deeper inequalities that trans and gender diverse people experience in accessing the healthcare, housing and meaningful employment.”

“I have personally experienced and heard from many trans women in particular, who are struggling with a sense of security due to the vulnerable circumstances such as housing and reduced employment options, that many of us find ourselves in,” she said.

“This Saturday 20 November, TDoR offers the trans and gender diverse community and our allies an opportunity to raise awareness about the substantial levels of hate-based crimes against trans and gender diverse people, which remain invisible to mainstream media. We also acknowledge it is our difference and individuality that makes us who we are as a community,” said Ms Io.

“Positive Life strives to see a society that welcomes all of us especially our trans brothers and sisters, many of whom live with HIV,” said Jane Costello, CEO of Positive Life NSW. “We support TDoR, not only for the memories of lost friends but also as a celebration of strength in adversity and as a commitment to creating a safer and more inclusive community, free of stigma and discrimination.”

TDoR has grown from the 1999 Candlelight Vigil held after the murder of Rita Hester, a transgender African American woman in Massachusetts, USA. United in its grief and struggle to honour Rita’s memory especially during the ensuing media reporting of her life and identity, her community initiated TDoR to raise awareness around anti-trans hate and prejudice.

Jane Costello, CEO – 1800 245 677 or email communications@positivelife.org.au

Positive Life NSW is the voice of all people living with HIV in NSW since 1988. We are the largest peer-led and run representative body of all people living with HIV in Australia based in NSW. We make a significant contribution to and positive impact across the spectrum of health and social issues on behalf of all people living with HIV in collaboration with HIV specialist and mainstream services to improve the health and quality of life of all people living with HIV in NSW. We do this through evidence based health promotion, research, policy advice and peer support.

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