LEXINGTON, Ky.—In 2012, the lives of more than 60 transgender individuals worldwide came to a violent end. They were beaten, strangled, shot, stabbed, burned and frequently mutilated—all because they did not conform to society’s established norms of gender identity.
In response to these abhorrent acts, groups of supporters gather annually in November to recognize and honor that year’s victims. The Transgender Day of Remembrance seeks to shine a light on the prejudice and hatred that leads to such violence.
An international event observed in over 185 cities in more than 20 countries, the Transgender Day of Remembrance was founded in 1998 by Gwendolyn Ann Smith, a transgender graphic designer, columnist and activist, to memorialize the murder of her friend Rita Hester in Allston, Mass.
On Nov. 22, three Transylvania University student organizations—T-Unity, SAGE and the Genderbread House—will sponsor a Trans* Day of Remembrance from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. The memorial service is open to the public and will include a candlelight vigil on the Old Morrison steps, during which those individuals slain in 2013 will be recognized. Participants can then go to the Campus Center Gym for a Resource Illumination Fair featuring information booths promoting public safety and equality. The organizers hope to have many local and regional organizations participate.
“Far too often, the struggles trans* folks face are ignored by the media and forgotten by the public,” said Spencer Peach ‘16, one of the event organizers. “This event will increase awareness of the violence and discrimination the trans* community confronts, the resiliency of trans* individuals and the vibrancy of the trans* community. We hope the larger community will come away with a desire to put an end to the discrimination.”
Peach explained that the transgender community commonly uses the asterisk (“trans*”) to represent the vast number of terms and identities encompassed by the transgender umbrella.
For more information about the event, contact Peach at 618-240-4413 or firstname.lastname@example.org.