Transgender Day of Remembrance









Violence has erupted in this nation, and the transgender diverse community is feeling the brunt of it. In July alone, there were seven known murders. Transgender women of color were found dismembered in a river, stabbed to death in an abandoned house, shot, and even hit by a car at a Black Lives Matter rally. The founder of the Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoR) vigil, Gwendolyn Ann Smith, has come to our event and commented on how we have brought TDoR to a level she had never seen before. Through the years, we have raised funds to create the first Transgender Day of Remembrance memorial cenotaph statue inspired by Yaz’min Sanchez’s murder in Florida. It has globally increased needed conversations about the violence against the transgender, gender non-conforming and intersex (TGI) populations while we protect our local community. 

Transgender Day of Remembrance is a time for the LGBTQI+ community and its allies to come together in the Coachella Valley in solidarity and be one voice to protect this community from violence, oppression and discrimination. The funds that we raise from this event are used to help those that are particularly vulnerable in our community. 

Last year’s TDoR was challenged by last-minute high winds and a rain storm that forced us to quickly move the event inside and still honor the names of those murdered in America for no more than being their true selves. This year, we face yet another challenge with the Covid-19 pandemic and intend to accommodate supporters with the health and safety standards required while still honoring the names of those lost this year. Any necessary changes will be made as health officials continue to address Covid-19. 

This year, TDoR will again be at the stairs outside Palm Springs City Hall and will also stream the event to accommodate those with autoimmune conditions. We will have members of the community spaced six feet apart holding candles to honor those murdered and we will have additional masks for those in need. We will have hand sanitizer as well. 

We hope that you can continue to support us and our vital work to protect the Coachella Valley from homophobic and transphobic violence during this time. In Brawley, just one-and-half-hours away, Marilyn Monroe Cazares was found stabbed to death in an abandoned house. She was misgendered and her male birth name was used in the case reporting which prevented gathering accurate information from people who knew her as Marilyn. As of August 2020, her killer is still free. 

We attended Marilyn’s vigil and offered to help with her funeral expenses. We would not be able to do things like this for the transgender community without funding. We also train police and sheriff departments to ensure that accurate information is used with the public and media as quickly as possible in hopes that this information will lead to the arrest of the perpetrator. 

Covid-19 has exacerbated the needs of the TGI community. We recently completed a survey and found that in the Inland Empire, 81% of the TGI community is contemplating suicide and 54% have made an attempt. We believe this is due to previous issues now being further impacted by the current pandemic. It is sometimes just too much to handle when a person has so many barriers before them. We now have a Transgender Crisis Case Navigator on staff to help these individuals through these difficult times.

Thank you for your continued support.

2017 was a historical year for the City of Palm Springs, as Transgender Community Coalition donated the first Transgender Day of Remembrance Memorial Cenotaph in memory of those transgender people that have been murdered and committed suicide due to a world that is not understanding nor accepting. This statue is the first of its kind and we thank everyone who participated in this inspiring event, showing your support for the transgender community.

The Cenotaph is on display in the front lobby of the Palm Springs City Hall.

Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoR) was founded in 1999 by Gwendolyn Ann Smith when she held a vigil for Rita Hester, a transgender woman that was murdered. It has become a global event to address the violence and oppression against this community. It is a time when the community that supports LGBTQ+ equality comes forward with their direct support to end violence against the transgender, intersex, gender non-conforming and non-binary communities.


Your funds directly support the Transgender Health and Wellness Center's goal to end economic disparity, homelessness, violence, healthcare discrimination and lack of access. We educate about HIV, PrEP and PEP, provide linkage to healthcare and life-saving medications, educational materials, youth empowerment, suicide prevention, policy reform, homelessness, housing rights and public accommodations. This highly-recognized event in the transgender community works as a means to connect to the transgender, intersex, gender non-conforming and non-binary community for linkage to care listed above and more.


Heath Satow (b. February 6, 1969) is an American artist who works primarily in fabricated metals. He received national attention for his 9/11 Memorial sculpture of hands – created with 3,000 stainless-steel doves – lifting one of the twisted steel beams from the World Trade Center to the sky. His passion is art that expresses social justice issues and the inequality of the discriminated and oppressed. Inspired by the scale model that Thomi Clinton presented to him, he has created a unique piece of Cenotaph art – an empty tomb or a monument erected in honor of a person or group of people – that embodies the murders and injustices faced by the transgender community in hopes of increasing public conversation to support transgender equality. The piece was inspired by the murder of transgender woman of color Yaz’min Sanchez, who was thrown into a Florida alley and burned to death. The scorched burned marks from her remains inspired a breathtaking sculpture of a person laying in a somber fetal position covered in butterflies. Butterflies are the spiritual symbol of transgender people. These butterflies represent the spirits of those we have lost preparing to return to their Creator in the heavens.