According to the largest U.S. advocacy group for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, 22 transgender or gender non-conforming people have been fatally shot or killed by other violent means in 2019 and this number is most likely an undercount according to the Human Rights Campaign.
While Trans day of Remembrance cannot bring any of those killed back to life, Thomas Pierce, who heads the Grand Rapids Pride Center, says its an opportunity to recognize the lives that were lost to violence.
“Whether you identify as trans, gay, bisexual, pansexual, lesbian or straight and you want to be an ally…being an ally is being informed of these things and knowing that there is a demographic of this community that is being targeted, and being targeted for violence and death.”
Pierce says that bringing up the violence the trans community undergoes on a regular basis is his responsibility as a white man.
“It's not pretty to talk about. But it's important because people are dying. And if we don't talk about it, um. No one's going to know and it's going to keep happening. No one's going to want to bring it up to the point where we need to actively start pushing for legislation.”
Transday of Remembrance will take place on Wednesday from 7 to 9pm at Aisle Nine next door to Lucy’s Café in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The event will feature a vigil and reading of names, as well as messages from guest speakers and artists from the local trans community.
Michelle Jokisch Polo, WGVU News.