Transgender Awareness Week kicks off November 14th and continues through Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) on November 20th.

Every year at this time, we pause with our trans family and allies to reflect on the struggles and threats that face our community, while simultaneously taking action to educate the public and advance advocacy around prejudice, discrimination, and violence that our trans brothers and sisters endure. We stand together, hopeful that we can create a safer environment for the people who identify as transgender or gender non-conforming.

According to The Williams Institute, approximately .3% of adults living in the U.S. identify as transgender; however, this estimate is greatly limited, as it only takes two surveys into account, the latest having been completed in 2009.

People who identify as transgender have alarming odds stacked against them. For example, the Trans Student Educational Resources organization (TSER), which is the only national organization lead by trans youth, reveals that about 50% of the trans community reports having been raped or assaulted by a romantic partner, while 49% of trans people reported physical abuse in a 2007 survey. Approximately 41% say they have attempted suicide, and 20% claim they have experienced homelessness. A whopping 80% of trans students say they feel unsafe at school.

The Transgender Day of Remembrance began in 1999 after a transgender advocate by the name of Gwendolyn Ann Smith was inspired by a vigil held to honor Rita Hester, an African-American woman who was murdered for being transgender the previous year. TDOR is not only a day to honor the memory of those we’ve lost, but it’s also a response to a cry for help. It is a day that challenges us to do more in order to change these statistics, open minds, and save lives.

Please take a stand with us: contact your local LGBT Center for event listings and vigils that will be held all over the world on November 20, 2016. Talk to friends and family about what it means to treat people the way we all want to be treated--with dignity and love. Remind your neighbors that we have the power to change the lives of hundreds of thousands of people by standing up for equal opportunity, fair treatment, and basic human rights and protections that are granted to the majority. Call or write to your local representative, and join the conversation online using hashtags #TransWeek and #TransVoices.

Together, we can end violence and discrimination against the trans community. Today is the best time to act.

Hoping to educate and change the public perspective on transgender people, Canada's own Princess Joules continues to travel the world, sharing her story with her social media followers and the GayTravel community. We thought we'd share some of our favorite memories with Princess Joules from our recent escape to fabulous Las Vegas: From our private tour of The Palms, to the Diva treatment on the Strip and being pampered like the princess that she is, we cherish every moment with our Celebrity Guru, Princess Joules!

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