Remembrance event for Transgender lives lost

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Guest speakers such as the Lord Mayor gave speeches at this years TDOR. Pic © Evelyn Edward JMU Journalism

Paying tribute to those whose lives have been lost proved a moving occasion, as Liverpool held a vigil for International Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR).

The annual observation honours the memory of transgender people whose died in 2019.

Held at the Exchange Station on Wednesday night, the service included guest speakers including the first transgender officer in the Armed Forces, Caroline Paige.

Local schoolkids performed music and poems, while LGBT youth charities, Mermaids and GYRO, provided support and conversation.

People who attended were invited to light candles while the names of those killed were read, many of whom had been lynched or burnt to death.

According to the Trans Murder Monitoring report, 331 known transgender people were murdered this year. In the UK, transgender hate crime reported by police has spiked up 81% in the last two years.

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The Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Councillor Anna Rothery, said in her speech: “It’s such a sad state of affairs that we’re still having to fight for the respect and dignity that should be afforded to every single individual.

“We’re still having to deal with issues around basic human rights. Individuals think it’s socially acceptable to exploit and denigrate other individuals. ”

Several iconic Liverpool buildings also light up for the night in colours of the transgender pride flag, including St George’s Hall and the World Museum.

St George’s Hall lights up in the colours of the transgender pride flag. Pic © Evelyn Edward JMU Journalism

The annual vigil was started in 1999 by advocate, Gwendolyn Ann Smith, as a way to honour the memory of her murdered transgender friend.

The vigil commemorated all transgender people lost to violence since her death, and began a tradition that would later become known as TDOR.

Jan Sampson of Mermaids told JMU Journalism: “Transgender Day of Remembrance gives us a chance to come together as a community and grieve.

“A lot of the time, particularly if there’s been a murder of a trans person in another country, there’s not as much empathy and sympathy as there is for other similar situations, as if someone who is trans deserves less.”

“It’s a case of all around the world, we know people are coming together and holding those vigils to say to those people we do remember you, you matter. Your life mattered and the fact that it was taken from you, that matters and we’re going to keep working to make sure it doesn’t happen.”

About Evelyn Edward, JMU Journalism