Transgender Remembrance Vigil

Passing this along:

For Immediate Release
Jamie Lee Sprague
Event Coordinator

Jane Heenan, MS MFT
Director, Equality Nevada, Southern Region

Monday 15 November 2010 – The Transgender Day of Remembrance will be held Friday 19 November at 7pm at Metropolitan Community Church (MCC).  The event provides space for persons to share stories about the pervasive hatred and prejudice expressed against transgender and gender non-conforming persons, as well as the diversity and resilience of our communities in the face of such harassment and violence.  This marks the third year the Transgender Day of Remembrance has been held at MCC.

Las Vegas transgender activist Jamie Lee Sprague has coordinated the event locally since 2007.  “I am committed to continue with this vigil until we have consecutive years in which nobody is killed due to hatred,” she said.  “I am an optimist, and I work to help bring about awareness and change, and to promote unity.”

The deaths of those based on anti-transgender hatred or prejudice are largely ignored.  Since record-keeping of these murders began 20 years ago, more than one person per month has died due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice, regardless of any other factors in their lives.  This trend shows no sign of abating.

Sprague attended her first Transgender Day of Remembrance vigil at UNLV in 2006.  “There was something about that evening when we were reading the names that made me want to become their voices,” she said.  Another organizer, Elizabeth Brown, said, “I wanted to make sure people understood that these persons who lost their lives because of violence are not just names – but individuals.”  This local vigil is one of hundreds to be held throughout the United States and internationally, including in Reno on Saturday 20 November.

The Transgender Day of Remembrance is observed in late November in recognition of the 1998 murder of Rita Hester in Boston, MA.  In 1999 transgender advocate and writer Gwendolyn Ann Smith coordinated a vigil in Rita’s honor.  The vigil commemorated not only Rita, but also all the transgender and gender non-conforming persons lost to violence and hatred.

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