In honor of the 20th anniversary of the Transgender Day of Remembrance, OU’s Gender + Equality Center will co-program a candlelight vigil Nov. 20 in remembrance of all transgender people who have been murdered in the past year and years prior.
The vigil will memorialize transgender individuals who have died because of transphobia and acts of violence against the trans community. The day of remembrance was inspired by the vigil held for Rita Hester, a trans woman from Allston, Massachusetts, who was murdered in 1998, according to a Facebook post.
The center will co-program the candlelight vigil with the Cleveland County Democratic Party, Norman Pride and PFLAG Norman for the Transgender Day of Remembrance, according to the Facebook post.
According to a Forbes magazine article, 331 trans people have been killed worldwide since last year's Transgender Day of Remembrance.
Daniel Dukes, a member of the Norman Human Rights Commission, will be a guest speaker at the vigil. Dukes will read the full list of victims in the U.S. and recognize the number of victims by country around the world during the vigil, according to an email from Norman Pride President Nathaniel Smith. The full list of victims can be found on transrespect.org.
Erin Simpson, director of the Gender + Equality Center and OU Advocates coordinator, said it is important to honor and remember those who have been lost.
“It’s important for us to both honor the people we’ve lost and ... to raise visibility for transgender people and address the issues that that particular community faces,” Simpson said. “I think it’s important for us to center the fact that trans people experience violence at a higher rate than almost any other demographic.”
The candlelight vigil will be held from 6:30–8 p.m. Nov. 20 at the Andrews Building in Andrews Park, at 201 W. Daws St. in Norman.