SAN DIEGO — Dozens came together at the San Diego LGBT Community Center on Monday to mark the Transgender Day of Remembrance with a vigil aimed at promoting acceptance and love for transgender people while also paying tribute to the lives lost.
Transgender Day of Remembrance is observed every year on Nov. 20.
“These are the ones who were taken from us in just the most hideous manner. These are all souls and lives that would have enhanced us all and now they’re our angels,” said Christynne Lili Wrene Wood, a transgender woman who was one of the speakers at Monday’s event.
At least 33 transgender and gender non-conforming people have been killed by violence in the United States since last year’s Transgender Day of Remembrance, according to a report from Human Rights Campaign. The majority of those lost were people of color or black transgender women.
“Wherever the death is, one is too many,” Wood continued.
Alongside other members of the community, Wood spoke about her experience after she was targeted for her use of a woman’s locker room at her local YMCA. Use of a locker room that corresponds with her gender is a right that is protected under California law.
“It’s just high time we come together in love,” she said. “No more division, no more anger, no more hatred.”
This Transgender Day of Remembrance may be one of the most significant yet.
It comes as more than 500 anti-LGBTQ bills have been introduced in state legislatures across the country this year, according to the American Civil Liberties Union — many of which target the rights of those in the transgender community. More than 80 of those bills were passed into law.
“It’s wonderful to be in California where we have some legal protections and we do have the opportunity to just be who we want to be,” said another attendee of Monday’s event, Rishelle Dial. “Really who we want to be is just ordinary people.”
President Joe Biden issued a statement Monday grieving the transgender lives lost, saying that the U.S. “must never be silent in the face of hate.”
“As we mourn the loss of transgender Americans taken too soon this year, we must also recommit ourselves to never stop fighting until all Americans can live free from discrimination,” he continued.
The state of California also issued a proclamation on Monday to declare Nov. 20, 2023 Transgender Day of Remembrance.
“Today is a tragic reminder of the unacceptable violence, discrimination, and structural barriers that members of the LGBTQ+ community still face on a regular basis, despite our progress towards inclusion and equality,” Lt. Governor Elena Kounalakis said in the proclamation. “Today, we recommit ourselves to ending violence against transgender people and to creating a safer, more inclusive, more accepting, and equal future so all Californians can live their lives out loud.”