Remembering trans lives lost to violence

Photo from a vigil to honor trans lives lost to violence by Abigail Quinn.

Candles and emotional speeches marked the yearly Transgender Day of Remembrance where people from all communities gathered to celebrate the lives lost to anti-transgender violence.  

Transgender Day of Remembrance is a day of memorial held yearly on Nov. 20. On WCU’s campus, where they have held Transgender Day of Remembrance for over six years, community members and students gathered in the cold to pay their respects to those who have been lost. 

Just two days after the attack at Club Q, a queer nightclub in Colorado Springs, the emotion and shock of such an attack still weighed heavy on people’s hearts at the vigil where over 30 people were in attendance. Many touching speeches were delivered addressing the attack by members of ANSWER WCU, Sylva Pride, Disabled Students United and MMIW NC Qualla Boundary Chapter

One of the groups in attendance, ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) Coalition, is dedicated to raising awareness of and fighting racism and imperialism on a global scale, and providing educational resources for students about such human rights abuses. In a statement posted on the Answer WCU Instagram page they said, “Trans rights are under attack, and Western North Carolina is speaking up and fighting back!”  

The group created a social media campaign in the weeks ahead of Transgender Day of Remembrance to highlight transgender and allied voices in Western North Carolina.  Leading up to the vigil, the stories and statements from transgender people and allies were shared on the ANSWER WCU Instagram page. There, others could see the videos and find solace in knowing that they are not alone in their struggles.  

When talking about the social media campaign, they continued to say, “For Transgender Awareness Week, we are speaking with trans community members and allies in Jackson County and across WNC, and sharing their voices, their stories, and their commitment to struggle for trans rights and trans liberation” In a separate statement, Answer said, “Across the nation, transgender people—especially trans youth—face a rising tide of state oppression and violence…” They carried this message with them while recounting some stories of loved ones who had been lost. 

After the vigil the presenting groups reminded everyone to hold their loved ones closer and remember that time is fleeting and actively not advocating for change is time wasted. To stay up to date on upcoming events like Transgender Day of Remembrance, Answer WCU, Sylva Pride, disabled students united chapter at WCU and MMIW NC Qualla Boundary Chapter can all be found on Facebook and Instagram.