On Wednesday at 11:30 a transgender flag will be raised at the Legislature to honour Transgender Day of Remembrance. (Unsplash)

On Wednesday at 11:30 a transgender flag will be raised at the Legislature to honour Transgender Day of Remembrance. (Unsplash)

Candlelight vigil held Wednesday to honor murdered transgender people worldwide

40 per cent of trans people in Victoria report frequent discrimination

The list of names read out on Nov. 20 in Bastion Square gets longer every year, memorializing those who have lost their live at the hands of someone who disagreed with their gender identity.

Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) is an annual observance that began in 1999 as a vigil to honor the memory of Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was killed the year before in Boston. The vigil commemorated all the transgender people lost to violence since Hester’s death and began an important tradition.

A candlelight vigil was first held in Victoria in 2014 says ChrŸs Tei, executive director of the Rainbow Health Cooperative, an organization that advocates for the trans, two spirit and non-binary communities in regards to health matters in the province.

READ ALSO: Transgender inmate in Surrey denied transfer to women’s prison

“We’re just making sure it gets done, basically,” she says, adding it’s something she wishes the community didn’t have to do.

This year’s vigil takes place in the Grove of Souls, the area between the old courthouse and the Bastion Square parkade, starting with a multi-faith cleansing ceremony at 2 p.m., followed by a banner presentation and then the candlelight vigil that begins at 6 p.m.

Prior to the vigil a transgender flag will be raised at the Legislature buildings at 11:30 a.m. on the western side of the front lawns.

“That area, the reason it’s never been built on is that was the graveyard of the people who were executed [there] in the hangings,” says Tei.

READ ALSO: Christian minister accused of transphobia draws small audience, protesters in Sidney

According to Tei getting the list of names is always a “scramble” because only a handful of non profits around the world track transgender deaths and some countries — such as Russia and many places in Asia — don’t track the number at all. Tei says this is where she’d like to see Canada step up and help organize.

In 2014 Tei estimates there were about 190 names, along with the way the individuals died. Last year there were about 300 names on the list.

“When we started reading the list, we realized we had to have more people reading them because the people [reading] are breaking down and starting to sob,” says Tei. “… it’s a very somber moment.”

Part of the Rainbow Health Cooperative’s work is a long term research project looking at affecting systemic change in local communities. It’s a project that looks generations into the future for a solution to discrimination that is felt often by transgender people.

According to Victoria’s Vital Signs report, 40 per cent of transgender people surveyed report frequently feeling uncomfortable due to discrimination, which is significantly higher compared to the three per cent of women and 2 per cent of men.

For Tei systemic change happens when “the rest of society sees transgender people as important, respected and vital” and one of the ways to push progress forward is by developing a community identity through events such as TDOR.

“We want society to think of trans people like firefighters — you might not want to be one, but you’re sure glad they’re around,” she says.



kendra.crighton@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Members of the Victoria Police Department, some of whom are shown here observing a moment of silence for victims of a mass shooting in Nova Scotia, experience stress and potential trauma more than most other workers, says Chief Const. Del Manak. While the number of shifts lost at VicPD are soaring, he sees it as a sign people are taking their own health and wellness seriously. (Black Press Media file photo)
Skyrocketing number of lost shifts at Victoria police has a positive side, chief says

Chief Const. Del Manak says officers, staff being more proactive looking after their mental health

A Seed and Stone rendering for White Rock, B.C. (Seed and Stone rendering)
Songhees Nation to open two Victoria cannabis stores spring 2021

Seed and Stone stores will open on Gordon Street and in the Bay Centre

A water taxi at Victoria’s Fisherman’s Wharf. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria man arrested after stealing water taxi, racing it up Gorge Waterway

Man is facing recommended charges of theft over $5,000

Inmates at Metchosin’s William Head Institution are being given COVID-19 vaccines as part of the first phase. Around 600 inmates will be vaccinated in the coming days. (Black Press Media file photo)
William Head inmates in Metchosin receive their first doses of COVID vaccine

Priority set for older inmates and those with underlying medical conditions

Syringe is prepared with one of B.C.’s first vials of Pfizer vaccine to prevent COVID-19, Victoria, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 caseload stays steady with 465 more Tuesday

No new outbreaks in health care facilities, 12 more deaths

Stand up paddleboarder Christie Jamieson is humbled to her knees as a pod of transient orcas put on a dramatic show on Jan. 19 in the Ucluelet Harbour. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Updated: Ucluelet paddle boarder surrounded by pod of orcas

“My whole body is still shaking. I don’t even know what to do with this energy.”

Chilliwack ER doctor Marc Greidanus is featured in a video, published Jan. 18, 2021, where he demonstrates and describes effectiveness of various styles of masks. (Youtube)
VIDEO: Emergency room doctor runs through pros and cons of various masks

‘We’ve been asked to wear a mask and it’s not that hard,’ Greidanus says.

(Pixabay photo)
VIDEO: Tip to Metro Vancouver transit police helps woman 4,000 km away in Ohio

Sgt. Clint Hampton says transit police were alerted to a YouTube video of the woman in mental distress

A woman types on her laptop in Miami in a Monday, Dec. 12, 2016, photo illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Wilfredo Lee
British Columbia government lax on cybersecurity practices, auditor reports

The audit did not highlight a specific threat, but it found breaches in cybersecurity are increasing globally

New Westminster TV production designer, Rick Whitfield, has designed an office in a box for British Columbians in need of a private workspace. (BC Box Office photo)
PHOTOS: B.C. man designs ‘box office’ solution for those working from home

‘A professionally designed workspace on your property, away from the distractions of home’

A mattress on fire gutted the second floor hallway at Town Park Apartments C-block Jan. 17. (Port Hardy Fire Rescue images)
‘Suspicious’ Port Hardy apartment fire could keep tenants out of their homes for months

A burning mattress created smoke and heat, causing several tenants to jump from windows

Cranbrook Food Bank coordinator Deanna Kemperman, Potluck Cafe Society executive director Naved Noorani and Sunshine Coast Community Services Society executive director Catherine Leach join B.C.’s new Municipal Affairs Minister Josie Osborne on a video call about B.C. gaming grants, Jan. 19, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. gaming grants reorganized for COVID-19 priorities

Minister highlights community kitchens, food banks

(Pixabay photo)
‘Cocaine bananas’ arrive at Kelowna grocery stores after mix up from Colombia: RCMP

Kelowna RCMP recently concluded an international drug investigation after finding cocaine in local grocers’ banana shipments in 2019

Most Read