On Monday November 20th, San Diego’s transgender community and allies held the 15th annual Trans Day of Remembrance. This somber event honored those who lost their lives to transphobic hatred and violence. In 2017, the documented toll was grim: 28 lost in the United States, 47 in Mexico, and 341 worldwide.
The event was inaugurated by a vigil march down University Avenue in Hillcrest. Attendees carried lit candles and held signs with the names of slain transwomen and transmen. The march was followed by a ceremony at San Diego’s LGBT center, with an estimated 175-200 people in attendance.
Em Jackson, a Program Coordinator and Services Navigator at the Center emceed the event. She told those gathered that “We stand to honor and remember our trans family lost in senseless acts of hatred and bigotry…these people were so much more than how they died…We uplift and honor the lives they led”. Sister Nora Torious of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence offered a benediction, saying in part: “We give a blessing to those who have lost loved ones to hate. I show you that hatred will not win in the end-our love will”.
The hall was decorated with commemorative candles, as well as brightly colored Mexican Day of the Dead figurines and memorabilia. A screen projection carried the names and countries of those murdered this past year, and the event was accompanied by soulful music from Nic Coffstuck, as well as Miss Pepper.
City councilmember Georgette Gomez (9th District) was the event’s special guest. (www.sandiego.gov/citycouncil/cd9). She informed the audience of her support for efforts to increase safety for the queer and trans communities. To that end, her office has worked to promote safe spaces in nearby Tijuana, as a number of LGBT individuals cross the border for various medical needs.
Members of the local transcommunity came up to the front of the auditorium to read the names, death dates, and biographic details of those lost. The transwomen and transmen mentioned included union organizers, pharmacy technicians, makeup/ hair stylists, retail salespeople, entertainers, students, and community activists. The ways they died were particularly brutal, including multiple gunshot wounds, repeated stabbings, even attack with a metal pipe.
Further information on the Trans Day of Remembrance can be found online at https://tdor.info/