Transgender Day of Remembrance commemorated at University of Lincoln

The Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoR) is an annual event, which takes place on the 20th November each year. The University of Lincoln LGBT+ Liberation society’s Christopher Scott writes how it’s being marked on Wednesday at Lincoln.

University of Lincoln LGBT+ Liberation Society's Christopher Scott

University of Lincoln LGBT+ Liberation Society’s Christopher Scott

I believe TDoR is important in uniting the LGBT+ community and other members of society.

As many people in the LGBT+ community have faced vicious discrimination in history, witnessing the support of those who do not identify as LGBT+ shows the world is changing.

The purpose of the event is to memorialise those who identify as transgender who’ve had their lives taken from them because of violence, hatred, and prejudice over the past year.

The event arose from the death of an African American transgender woman, Rita Hester, who died on the 28th of November 1998 in Massachusetts, USA.

Her death caused outrage and grief among the black community and inspired a candle lit vigil to be held.

From here Gwendolyn Ann Smith successfully made the Transgender Day of Remembrance into an annual event where people can be remembered.

The event is being marked by the LGBT+ society here in Lincoln and is taking place on the Wednesday November 23 at 7pm in The Platform. The society’s gender representative, Nicola Harrison, has worked hard to make this event happen.

It’s an open event for anyone to attend allowing them to pay their respects and remember those who’ve had their lives taken. The event begins with a service run by Subash Chellaiah who is from the university’s multi-faith chaplaincy.

We’re also fortunate enough to have a guest speaker from Transhealth, Jess Bradley, to say some words about the event. Guest speakers from this academic year so far shall also be in attendance including Lucy Ward from the Terrence Higgins Trust and several of her colleagues.

We are hoping to get a mixture of people attending. This includes University of Lincoln students and staff members, representatives from Bishop Grosseteste University alongside collaborative efforts from the different faith societies at University of Lincoln including the Christian Society and Islamic Society.

The SU’s vice president for welfare and community Tasnim Hussain, and vice president for activities Will Fry, have both confirmed their attendance to pay their respects. We’ve had interest expressed among members of the public and the event has been shared by many people.

The evening ends at 8:30pm with a candlelit vigil and a Sing It performance outside the university library and Students’ Union building. A candle shall be lit for every person who has lost their life this year.

Alumni and transgender man, Jack Fieldhouse was asked what TDoR means to him and why it is important.

He said: “For me, TDoR is about the trans community that’s come before – the people who stepped forward and lived their lives in the faces of those who would oppress them. It’s because of them I can be the man I am today.”

The event not only allows for those to be remembered, but also shows the transgender community that people do care and will challenge transphobia.

Society is becoming more accepting of LGBT+ and particularly Transgender people. But, what the event also shows is there is still a lot of progress to be made.

With the number of individuals killed being consistently over 300, this is still more than 300 too many who didn’t need to lose their lives. And for this reason, TDoR is such an important event for the LGBT+ community. It marks progress on how the world sees us and shows that change still needs to happen.

As a message from the LGBT+ society, we would like to thank anyone who has helped with the event. We hope that it will be an informative and educational event, which will help to dispel any false impressions anyone may have about the transgender community. Together, we can stop transphobia and together we can challenge hatred too.

Life Gets Better Together.

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