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Gwendolyn Ann Smith and transgender people

Gwendolyn Ann Smith is an American writer, designer, and transgender rights activist. Smith is a pioneer in online trans resources and created what became the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance.


Gwendolyn Ann “Gwen” Smith was born July 22, 1967. Smith attended Pasadena City College, then began doing desktop publishing and digital design under the entity designstylestudios. Smith was an early adopter in online communities, rising to Programming Director at America Online’s onQ community, which later merged with PlanetOut.

Smith has been involved with the game Second Life since its release in 2003 and since 2019 has offered high-end professional support to the game’s power users.

Smith is married to Bonnie “Bon” Smith and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Transgender activism

Starting in 1992, Smith was the driving force behind making America Online (AOL) trans-friendly, lobbying them to change anti-trans policies. Smith developed and maintained a repository of information and resources on AOL and hosted many chats. Smith developed the Transgender Community Forum (TCF), which AOL forced to close.

In 1998, Smith founded the Remembering Our Dead Project to document anti-trans murders. That project evolved into the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance.

In 2000, Jamison Green, Dallas Denny, Jessica Xavier, Gwen Smith, Penni Ashe Matz, and Sandra Cole launched the nonprofit Gender Education and Advocacy (GEA) at the website

Smith has written and edited for many publications, including LGBTQ Nation, The New Civil Rights Movement, and Genderfork. Smith has written a column titled “Transmisisons” for the Bay Area Reporter since 2000.

Smith designed the accompanying booklet and attended our 2004 all-transgender benefit performance of The Vagina Monologues.

Smith is subject of the 2017 book Trans/Active: A Biography of Gwendolyn Ann Smith.


Leveque, Sophia Cecilia (2017). Trans/Active: A Biography of Gwendolyn Ann Smith. ISBN 9781618460448

Burns, Katelyn (November 20, 2019). Founder Gwendolyn Ann Smith on the 20th Anniversary of Transgender Day of Remembrance. Vogue.

Inkster, Andy (2008). Gwendolyn Ann Smith (1967–). In LGBTQ America Today: An Encyclopedia. ISBN 978-0313339905


Gwen Smith (

Wikipedia (

Transgender Day of Remembrance ( [archive] ( [archive]

  • Remembering Our Dead: [archive]
  • Host: Above & Beyond ( [archive]

Bay Area Reporter (

Genderfork (

Facebook (

Instagram (

LinkedIn (

Twitter (

Bluesky (