SAN DIEGO — Colors of the Transgender Pride flag illuminated the San Diego County Administration Building Saturday evening.
Community members gathered in Downtown San Diego for Transgender Day of Remembrance to honor the memories of transgender people who lost their lives in acts of hate crimes.
Several local leaders including San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria took the podium to advocate for transgender rights.
“This is a solemn day for the community,” Gloria said. “This is an opportunity to reflect on the lives lost to anti-transgender violence. We host this event annually to shine a light on that, to endeavor, to make sure their lives are not lost in vain.”
According to the Human Rights Campaign, 2021 is expected to be the most violent year for transgender and gender diverse people.
Advocates say so far, at least 47 transgender people across the country have lost their lives to violence with many more injured. It comes after a transgender woman recently filed a lawsuit against the county, alleging she was unsafely placed in a jail cell with men and was beaten by one in November of last year.
The San Diego County Democratic Party is now calling on the Sheriff’s Office to apologize and establish a transgender liaison.
“I keep fighting for a seat on the table of equality,” said Julia Legaspie, San Diego City and County Human Relations Commissioner.
Legaspie serves as San Diego’s first transgender person to be appointed to the city and county commission. She said the event is a way to bring awareness to challenges transgender people face daily.
“No one has to die because of their religion, their ethnicity and especially their gender identity,” she said. “Even deciding which bathroom to use is a struggle for transgender people.”
Gloria said his office is working to include diverse voices with changes to police policy, non-gender language in city documents and addition of LGBTQ+ advisors.
“Their government needs to know that their government sees them, hears them, values them,” the mayor said. “When we don’t do that, we have the losses we are mourning today and that is simply unacceptable.”
Stephen Whitburn, San Diego City Councilmember District 3, signed a proclamation declaring Nov. 20 “Transgender Day of Remembrance” in San Diego. The city will also recognize Nov. 13-20 as Transgender Awareness Week.