This year’s Transgender Day of Remembrance proved to be a somber yet uplifting event. Held Friday night on Zoom, the event featured the Reading of Names of people who have died as a result of transphobic violence.
“We are here to honor their memory and celebrate their lives,” said Blossom Brown who served as the master of ceremonies for the event. “For me as a trans woman of color, as a black trans women, this event is very personal.”
In her welcome, West Hollywood Mayor Lindsey Horvath reported more than 350 people have died around the globe in the past year due to transphobic violence, at least 37 of those people in the United States.
“This is an atrocity,” said Horvath. “We recommit ourselves to ending transphobia, violence and discrimination against transgender and gender nonconforming individuals. We dedicate ourselves to uplifting, empowering and celebrating the transgender community here with us, so someday we don’t have to have this event.”
Alexis Sanchez, the vice chair of West Hollywood’s Transgender Advisory Board, called upon cisgender allies to help “increase access to safe and affordable housing, to good paying jobs, to supportive services and all the things that help protect our community.”
Transgender Advisory Board chair Jake Rostovsky issued a call to action to all participating in the event, saying, “This is an opportunity for the city’s advisory board to influence legislation, educate, sensitize politician and inspire allies to engage in solidarity. The fight continues every single day.”
During the Reading of Names, speakers read a murdered person’s name aloud and offered a quick bit of information about the person’s life and how the person died, followed by saying, “We will always remember you,” while a photo of the person being memorialized displayed on screen.
At the conclusion of the Reading of Names, the speakers said repeatedly in unison, “We will always remember you. We will always remember you. We will always remember you.”
The evening also featured transgender poet Jaden Fields reading an untitled poem about the transgender experience, followed by singer Angel Bonilla performing her song, “Good Enough.”
First established in 1999, the Transgender Day of Remembrance has become an international event that not only memorializes those who have been murdered as a result of transphobia, but also draws attention to the continued violence endured by transgender people.