By Claire Crittendon – Editor-in-chief
November 20 was Transgender Day of Remembrance. PRIDE club enveloped the Glow Lounge in Winslow Academic Center into a display to commemorate this day and the now 39 trans lives ended by transphobic violence in 2020.
PRIDE club’s Laser Involvement page states it is “a club dedicated to supporting the LGBTQ+ community on campus.” It aims to provide people a comfortable space to be themselves while “spreading love and acceptance around campus.”
Traditional, Trans Day of Remembrance is observed with a candlelight vigil. To comply with all fire safety and COVID-19 guidelines, the event was presented in a passive format. Passerbys would write a message of support on a paper candle and hang their message on the inside of the window. Toomey said PRIDE has been planning this event since “before Halloween” to ensure all details were correct and as up to date as possible.
“I just want people to realize these people were killed for being exactly who they are, for feeling comfortable in their own skin. And I think that people don’t realize just how big of an issue transphobic violence is. The most potent part of the display to me is that we get their names and faces out there,” said President of PRIDE junior Kelsey Toomey.
Trans Day of Remembrance was founded in 1999 by advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith after the murder of trans woman Rita Hester in 1998.
According to Toomey, “a vast majority of the victims every year are Black and Latinx people, and a vast majority are women. A vast majority are sex workers as well. I think that it’s important to get that information out there as well, because I think it really shows where we are, as a country, and who we value as people.”
PRIDE prioritizes intersectionality in the crossroads of all its work as an organization.
“One of the slogans for Transgender Day of Remembrance is ‘say their names.’ And I always like to say, ‘say their names, remember their faces,’” said Toomey. “Because, at the end of the day, I really just want people to realize that it’s not just a statistic or a number, it’s actual people.”
Toomey says the numbers are not going down, instead, the opposite is occurring. 2020 has the highest recorded rate of trans lives lost since 2016, though this number going up does not confirm an increase in death, instead that more deaths have been recorded.
If you or a loved one are looking for support, The Trans Lifeline can be reached at (877) 565-8860.