UCL News


Marking Transgender Day of Remembrance

16 November 2023

On 20 November the Transgender flag will be flown on the Portico to mark Transgender Day of Remembrance, an annual day of observance honouring the memory of the trans people who have lost their lives to anti-trans violence.

The trans flag flying on UCL's Portico building

Content warning: The content and discussion in this piece will engage with themes and situations around transphobia, violence, racism and loss of life. 

Transgender Day of Remembrance began in the United States in November 1999, and was a small event organised by a group of transgender advocates: Gwendolyn Ann Smith, Nancy Nangeroni, and Jahaira DeAlto. It was a vigil to honour the lives of both Rita Hester and Chanelle Pickett, two Black transgender women who were killed in November 1998. The vigils had two purposes. One, to keep the memory of both women alive. The second was to recognise and remind others not only of their deaths, but why they were killed. The organising group wanted to ensure that both women were never forgotten, and the tradition of remembering those lost to violence has continued to be observed on this day.  

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Manager, Gerard Jones, said: “This is an incredibly sombre day and can act as a painful reminder of the discrimination and violence many trans people face in the UK and across the world. 

“As a large, diverse, and global university, it’s important to recognise that students and staff come to UCL from all walks of life. With the legal protection, safety, and social acceptance of trans people varying significantly across the world, it’s vital that UCL creates a safe, welcome, and uplifting environment for everyone. 

“As Trans Day of Remembrance also marks the end of Trans Awareness Week (13-20 November), there is an opportunity to learn more about the issues affecting trans people. Take a read of the resources below and reflect on ways you can support your colleagues, students, and friends.” 


Community and support at UCL

  • The UCL Trans Network is open to all trans staff and students at UCL and hosts a range of peer support and community building opportunities.  
  • Specific guidance for LGBTQ+ students is available from Student Support and Wellbeing
  • To receive private and confidential support on issues relating to bullying and harassment, UCL has a range of Dignity Advisors who are committed to supporting trans, nonbinary and all marginalised members of staff. 
  • UCL’s Employee Assistance Programme offers free, confidential advice and mental health support to all staff. 
  • The Gender Expression Fund offers grants to help trans and nonbinary students purchase gender affirming products. 

UCL’s commitments and guidance 

External wellbeing and support resources for trans people 

  • Spectra offers a range of social groups, counselling, mentoring and advocacy for trans people in London. 
  • London Friend is a charity health and wellbeing support to LGBTQ+ people. 
  • London LGBTQ+ Centre is a community centre and café that hosts a range of social and educational events. 
  • Gendered Intelligence runs social groups and mentoring for young trans people aged 18-30. 
  • Galop has a free helpline and email advice service for LGBTQ+ victims and survivors of abuse and violence. 
  • Switchboard offers free confidential support to LGBTQ+ people on a range of issues. 

Further reading 

Photo credit: Emily Wang, UCL Photo Soc