Letter: Transgender Day of Remembrance planned

From: Ann Jones


On Sunday our community will commemorate Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR). This is the 17th year this day of remembrance will be observed globally and the fifth year in Columbus. Leaders from the following churches are organizing this meaningful memorial: First United Methodist Church, First Presbyterian Church, North Christian Church and Unitarian Universalist Congregation. The community’s LGBT SAFE project is also a sponsor. The service will take place at First Presbyterian Church at 7 p.m., and all people, from all faith or non-faith traditions, are welcome.

The first TDOR was held in 1999, acknowledging the slaying of Rita Hester. Gwen Smith, her friend, organized the first memorial event, and sadly it has been a necessary tradition for the last 17 years.

The event serves numerous purposes. It raises public awareness of hate crimes against transgender people, especially women of color. This acknowledgment is an action rarely performed by our media. The day of remembrance and the service will mourn and honor brothers and sisters whose lives have been lost, often violently, due to hatred and transphobia. The trend of violence against transgendered people resulting in death shows no signs of abating, despite efforts to pass gender-inclusive legislation. The event gives attendees a chance to express love and respect for human lives. The day of remembrance reminds non-transgendered people that we are their sons, daughters, parents, friends and lovers. The event gives allies a chance to step forward and stand in vigil, memorializing lives lost.

There will be a reception following the service in the Laws Room of the church, where there will be transgender resources as well. Time will be allotted to come together for conversation. This event is an opportunity to honor the diversity of our community, remember those transgendered people who have died within the past year due to violence and mourn the loss of life as well as the many losses transgender people experience pertaining to home, family and employment. On Sunday, we will remember those young lives who will never see 2017 – Lorran, Amos, Chaiene, Julia, Yasmin and all others who needlessly died. Each had a gift to offer the world. That gift has been lost.

For more information call First Presbyterian Church at 812-372-3783.