(CNSNews.com) – The U.S. Department of Labor is officially observing Nov. 20 as “The Transgender Day of Remembrance."
"The Transgender Day of Remembrance [TDOR] will be commemorated in cities and countries around the world today, reflecting on those who have died as a result of fear, hate and transphobia,” Labor Secretary Hilda Solis said in a statement on Tuesday.
"I stand proudly today--and every day--as an ally to the transgender community and to every person and family impacted by anti-transgender bullying and violence,” she said. “Transgender people are part of the diversity that America celebrates today and they, like every American, deserve to live without fear of prejudice or violence.”
“I hope that this year's commemoration will serve as an opportunity to shine a brighter light on both progress made and the challenges ahead," Solis said.
The Department issued a similar statement last year, in which Solis said she’s “proud to stand and be counted as an ally to the transgender community.”
"On this day of remembrance, as we pause to reflect on the lives that have been lost, we renew our commitment to an America that celebrates and values every person,” she said.
According to the Department of Labor (DOL), the day of remembrance began as an online project in 1999 in honor of Rita Hester, an African-American transgender who was murdered the year before.
Inquiries to the DOL about the number of transgender persons employed by the department and who is the highest ranking transgender individual within the department were not answered before this story was posted.