A candlelight vigil to remember transgender lives which were lost to hatred and violence will be held at UBC’s Okanagan campus as part of Kelowna’s Transgender Day of Remembrance on Friday, Nov. 20.
During the vigil, the names of those lives lost will be read, and a short non-denominational service will take place. There will also be poetry reading and two guest speakers from the transgender community will speak to participants.
The event is being co-hosted by UBC Okanagan’s Pride Resource Centre (PRC), UBC Okanagan’s Equity and Inclusion Office, and the Okanagan Pride Society (OPS).
Sydney Lawson, OPS director of Transgender Community Development, says the cruelty that humans show to other humans is disgusting and has to stop.
“I’m saddened and disgusted that we live in a world where people are tortured and murdered for simply being true to themselves,” said Lawson. “Since I began my transition I would avoid this event each year because I didn’t want to know. I couldn’t bear to know that there is such cruelty in humans that they could torture and kill another.”
Lawson feels strongly that people need to know that transgender people are tortured and murdered in many cultures around the world. Co-hosting the Transgender Day of Remembrance not only honours those people who lost their lives, but also brings awareness about the hate crimes.
Kelowna’s Transgender Day of Remembrance takes place Nov. 20 at UBC Okanagan’s University Centre Ballroom, starting at 7 p.m.
Jenica Frisque, with UBC Okanagan’s Equity and Inclusion Office, encourages all members of the public to attend this free event. Refreshments will be provided.
“I feel that this is an opportunity to send a message to transgender students and staff, and to the Okanagan’s transgender community in general, that Kelowna recognizes that transphobia exists, that violence against transgender people exists, and that there is still a lot of work to do to end that violence,” said Frisque.
“Building community takes time and takes commitment by all members to speak out against violence and to work collectively to create respectful spaces where everyone feels included and dignified.”