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It takes courage to be who you want to be

UW-Platteville memorializes those who lost their lives to anti-transgender violence

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It takes courage to be who you want to be

Elizabeth Kaiser photo

Elizabeth Kaiser photo

Elizabeth Kaiser photo

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The Transgender Day of Remembrance, or International Transgender Day, is celebrated on Nov. 20 after the death of Rita Hester who was murdered on Nov. 28, 1998. Transgender advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith created a vigil to honor her and all the transgender people who have lost their lives to violence since Rita Hester’s death. This kicked off the “Remembering Our Dead” web project and a San Francisco candlelight vigil in 1999. Although not every person represented during the Day of Remembrance self-identified as transgender, transsexual, crossdresser or otherwise non-binary, each was a victim of violence based on bias against transgender people.

The Doyle Center for Gender and Sexuality created a commemorative display case to honor those who passed. In the display case are a total of 24 names and pictures of the transgender people in the United States who passed from November 2017- November 2018, along with the provided information of when and how they passed. A tea light for each person was lit at the bottom of the case to provide brightness and hope for a more just and compassionate future.

The Transgender Day of Remembrance serves several purposes. It raises public awareness of hate crimes against transgender people. The Day of Remembrance publicly mourns and honors the lives of our brothers and sisters who might otherwise be forgotten. Through the vigil we express love and respect for our people in the face of national indifference and hatred. The Day of Remembrance reminds non-transgender people that we are their sons, daughters, parents, friends and lovers. The day also gives allies a chance to step forward and stand in vigil, memorializing those who’ve died by anti-transgender violence.

– Brooklyn BreYanna Stevenson: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (Nov. 27,              2017) Shot to death

– Brandi Seals: Houston, Texas (Dec. 13, 2017) Shot

– Zakaria “Z” Fry: Albuquerque, New Mexico (Jan. 2018) Blunt force       trauma

– Christa Leigh Steele-Knudslien: North Adams, Massachusetts (Jan. 6,       2018) Stabbed and bludgeoned

– Viccky Gutierrez: Los Angeles, California (Jan. 10, 2018) Undetermined

– Celine Walker: Jacksonville, Florida (Feb. 4, 2018) Shot

– Tonya Harvey: Buffalo, New York (Feb. 6, 2018) Shot

– Phylicia Mitchell: Cleveland, Ohio (Feb. 23, 2018) Shot

– Amia Tyrae Berryman: Baton Rouge, Louisiana (March 26, 2018) Shot           to death

– Sasha Wall: Chicago, Illinois (April 1, 2018) Shot to death

– Carla Patricia Flores-Pavon: Dallas, Texas (May 9, 2018) Strangled to        death

– Nino Fortson: Atlanta, Georgia (May 13, 2018) Shot multiple times

– Gigi Pierce: Portland, Oregon (May 21, 2018) Shot

– Antash’a Devine Sherrington English: Jacksonville, Florida (June 1,       2018) Shot

– Diamond Stephens: Meridian, Mississippi (June 18, 2018) Shot

– Cathalina Christina James: Jacksonville, Florida (June 24, 2018) Shot to        death

– Keisha “Pokey” Wells: Cleveland, Ohio (June 24, 2018) Shot and killed

– Sasha Garden: Orlando, Florida (July 19, 2018) Undetermined

– Dejanay Stanton: Chicago, Illinois (Aug. 30, 2018) Shot to death

– Vontashia Bell: Shreveport, Louisiana (Aug. 30, 2018) Shot

– Shantee Tucker: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Sept. 5, 2018) Shot

– Londonn Moore: Port Charlotte, Florida (Sept. 8, 2018) Shot

– Nikki Enriquez: Laredo, Texas (Sept. 15, 2018) Shot to death

– Ciara Minaj Carter Frazier: Chicago, Illinois (Oct. 3. 2018) Shot to             death

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It takes courage to be who you want to be