BGSU’s LGBTQ+ Resource Center is hosting a Transgender Day of Remembrance candlelight vigil Wednesday to remember all of the lives lost to anti-transgender violence in the U.S..
Allie Hicks, a graduate student in the Office of Multicultural Affairs whose pronouns are they/them/theirs, facilitated this event for two years and emphasized the significance of the event.
“Transgender Day of Remembrance was founded in 1999 by transgender advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith in honor of Rita Hester, a trans-woman who was killed in 1998,” they said. “The significance of the event is also to call for the increased and accurate media coverage of trans people both in life and in death.”
According to an article from the Human Rights Campaign, an estimated 26 people died in the U.S. in 2018 and 22 in 2019 so far for being transgender or non-gender conforming. Events like this vigil helps the victims’ names and stories be told and teach others how to assist in preventing these hate crimes.
The vigil not only honors the memory of those who have died from anti-trans violence but also encourages the trans community at BGSU and their allies to create change.
“While organizing and being a part of the vigil last year was a solemn experience, it was also extremely unifying and mobilizing. I hope this event not only offers a space for mourning and for remembering the victims of anti-transgender violence whose stories we often don't hear, but that it also plants a seed in the community — urging us to do better when it comes to protecting, celebrating and advocating for trans lives,” Hicks said.
Hicks warned that before students attend the event, they should be made aware that the vigil could be triggering for some, as it centers on violence and anti-transgender actions. However, Hicks said the vigil is meant to be a safe space to “remember those we have lost to bigotry and violence.”
The event, which is open to the public, is at 5:15 p.m. Wednesday in the Bowen-Thompson Student Union Oval.