‘It’s a sad day and a day to remember’

Christina Stavale

Students honor lives lost to hate crimes

For PRIDE!Kent programmer Ted Trimm, the Transgender Day of Remembrance is an emotional day, as it honors those who were killed because of transgender hate crimes.

“It’s a sad day and a day to remember all those who died and their quest to be themselves. It’s also a day of education and a day to educate about trans issues,” he said.

Today marks the ninth annual Transgender Day of Remembrance. The day began to honor Rita Hester, a Boston transgendered woman who was murdered Nov. 28, 1998, and now extends to remember all those killed because of anti-transgender hate crimes.

Tonight at 6, the Queer Liberation Front will be holding a vigil at Risman Plaza to honor these people.

“It’s important to remember where the transgender community has been, and where we’re going, and the violence that needs to stop,” QLF chair Trae Ruscin said.

To raise awareness, PRIDE!Kent President Colleen Eltibi said it’s important to start within the LGBT community and then extend the awareness to the rest of the world.

“In the LGBT community, the ‘T’ is silent, and their rights are overlooked,” Eltibi said. “My goal is to have more awareness.”

PRIDE!Kent has prepared for the day by learning about the transgender community during its last two meetings. Members watched the movie “TransGeneration,” which is a documentary about four college-aged transgender students. Trimm and University of Akron student Kayden Healy also spoke to members about their own experiences being transgendered.

Trimm said his biggest struggle as a female-to-male transgender student was coming out a second time — except this time, it was harder.

“I felt like for me, it was (another) coming out,” he said. “If you’re gay or bisexual or a lesbian, it is a part of you, but you’re physically still the same. If you’re trans, there’s a tiny part of you that’s different. I’m on testosterone, so I physically now look different. My personality is different. My body is different.”

Personally, Trimm said he has never been hurt because of being transgender.

“Thankfully, the worst I’ve ever had is a dirty look — people muttering ‘freak’ under their breath,” he said. “No one has ever physically tried to hurt me. I’ve been threatened, but no one has ever touched me.”

But he said sometimes he finds discrimination against transgender people within the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. For example, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act originally included wording that would prohibit discrimination based on gender expression. But it was dropped to give the bill a better chance of passing.

“I was very angry and very hurt because it makes me feel like I am completely alone, and that I’m not important enough to a community that enjoys tacking the ‘T’ onto the end of LGBT,” Trimm said. “Organizations say they’re transfriendly, but are so willing to drop us in order to achieve their own personal goals.”

Contact minority affairs reporter Christina Stavale at [email protected].