Transgender Day of Remembrance - 20 November

We're here if you're struggling with grief and need to talk. This article also shares information and tips on how to be an ally, as well as some of the challenges we have faced when working with clients who identify as trans.

November 20, 2023

Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoR) takes place each year on 20 November to honour and  observe the memory of those who have lost their lives due to transphobic violence. This also includes those who have completed suicide due to oppressive barriers that they faced due to their transgender identity. The day often can bring a multitude of emotions for bereaved loved ones.

We share this article on Transgender day of Remembrance to highlight some of the challenges we face when working with clients who identify as trans, to provide guidance on how you can support and be an ally, as well as a reminder that Cruse Scotland is here for all bereaved people across Scotland regardless of how recent or long ago the death took place, or the relationship to the person who has died.

As a service, we have encountered some difficult, and delicate, situations when working with trans clients, particularly within our Children and Young People’s service. These have included:

  • young people being referred into the service with a name and gender different from the name and gender that they would prefer to be known by when accessing our support.
  • supporting adults and young people where a funeral has not recognised the trans identity of the person who has died. Ritual and ceremony can often be very important in a grief journey and where a funeral holds little, or no, recognition of the person that they knew we recognise what a difficult dynamic that can bring to the beginning of a grief journey.
  • observing grief being compounded and more complex because of tensions within family relationships, specifically around a client’s gender identity.

This is only a flavour of the experiences that we are able to share - we know that there will be many more, perhaps even hidden, narratives that have significant impact on a client’s experience of bereavement, loss and grief.

As an organisation, we are always looking to ensure that we offer safe, confidential, non-judgemental space to all our clients. Through the development of our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion strategy, and by offering our staff and volunteers access to relevant training and learning we seek to be better equipped in supporting our clients’ grief journeys particularly where that grief has been negatively impacted by complexities experienced by the transgender community.

For those fortunate to not have lost a loved one due to transphobia, Transgender Day of Remembrance can be a gentle reminder of what it means to be an active ally and practice solidarity.

Below are a few out of many suggestions of ways to be an ally, followed by some fantastic resources for further reading

  1. Use pronouns: Pronouns are an easy way to show solidarity to the trans/non binary community. By using pronouns, it shows others that you are aware and considerate that not everyone uses the same one, and you won’t assume someone’s identity. Ways to display your pronouns could be through your email, signing a letter or document, or simply stating your pronouns for the first time after meeting someone.
  2. Use inclusive language: Similar to using pronouns, by being mindful of how we speak, can also make others aware of not assuming genders. For example, instead of saying ‘Ladies and Gentlemen’ try saying ‘Colleagues, Guests, Folks’ more neutral terms, or, if speaking about a worker, instead of saying ‘Postman’ say ‘Post worker’.
  3. Learn about the community: It’s important that we do the work ourselves by hearing from trans voices directly. Read books and articles by those that have lived experience of being trans. Watch videos, listen to podcasts. Connect with trans educations and organisations who have resources available. There is a plethora of contentto learn more about the challenges, barriers and experiences of the trans community within the UK and globally.
  4. Ask: If you’re unsure about something, ask! It is always better to ask with respect than to assume. Part of being an ally is getting things wrong and learning from those you support. You won’t always have the answers but you will always have the resources to learn and unlearn.

Resources for additional learning (Video)

“Disclosure” – a Netflix Documentary


If you’re struggling with your grief, Cruse Scotland is here for you.

Call our freephone Bereavement Helpline 0808 802 6161 (Monday to Friday 9am - 8pm, weekends 10am - 2pm), speak with Grief Chat here on our website, or learn the other ways we could support.


Further support:

LGBT Health and Wellbeing

Call: 0131 564 3970



LGBT Youth Scotland

Call: 0131 555 3940


This article was prepared by Kyle McFadden-Young (Helpline Development Manager) and Nicola Reed (Director of Client Services).



Transgender Day of Remembrance - 20 November