PRIDE! honors victims at Transgender Day of Remembrance vigil

Gabrielle Martinez

Members of PRIDE! gathered on Risman Plaza to commemorate deceased transgender individuals for National Transgender Day of Remembrance on Thursday, Nov. 20.

Despite the frigid weather, the LGBTQ organization recognized trans-people around the world who were killed in the past year as a result of fear and hatred toward transgender and the gender non-conforming. 

“This is a national event remembering the trans-individuals who have died due to mindless and senseless violence,” said Brandon Stephens, president of PRIDE!. “We want to remember these individuals and give everyone a sense of what is happening in the trans community.”  

PRIDE! member Lucas Lyons began the vigil introducing the history behind the day of commemoration.

“Transgender Day of Remembrance honors the memory of those whose lives are lost in acts of anti-transgender violence,” Lyons said. “It raises the public awareness of hate crimes against transgender people and publicly honors the lives of those who might otherwise be forgotten.”

Those in attendance were given a balloon in representation of a trans victim. When PRIDE! member Dee Dee Blais called out a victim’s name, a balloon was released into the wintery air.

“We only are recognizing a small portion of trans victims today,” Blais said. “There were 226 trans-people worldwide who have died in the last year.”

The vigil concluded with a moment of silence for the trans victims of violence. After the vigil, attendees were invited to attend the weekly PRIDE! meeting.

Stephens holds PRIDE! meetings every Thursday at 8 p.m. in the Governance Chambers on the second floor of the Student Center.

PRIDE! strives to educate the Kent State community on the many definitions of “trans” and the terms that fall under the umbrella including transgender, trans identity, gender identity, gender non-conforming, gender queer, non-binary and third gender, Stephens said.       

“We strive to create a learning environment for everyone,” Stephens said. “PRIDE! is open to everybody who is willing to learn more about the LGBTQ community.”

For more information about the group, visit PRIDE!’s Facebook page.

Contact Gabrielle Martinez at [email protected].