University of Iowa, Iowa City honor Transgender Day of Remembrance

Following an Iowa City City Council proclamation declaring Nov. 20 the Transgender Day of Remembrance, the UI Pride Alliance Center held a vigil to commemorate the transgender individuals who have been killed in the past year.

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University of Iowa, Iowa City honor Transgender Day of Remembrance

Protesters during a transgender rights rally on the Pentacrest on Thursday Oct 25, 2018. Protesters gathered to promote rights in light of the upcoming elections.

Protesters during a transgender rights rally on the Pentacrest on Thursday Oct 25, 2018. Protesters gathered to promote rights in light of the upcoming elections.

Katie Goodale

Protesters during a transgender rights rally on the Pentacrest on Thursday Oct 25, 2018. Protesters gathered to promote rights in light of the upcoming elections.

Katie Goodale

Katie Goodale

Protesters during a transgender rights rally on the Pentacrest on Thursday Oct 25, 2018. Protesters gathered to promote rights in light of the upcoming elections.

Lauren White and Hannah Rovner

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Candles illuminated the yard of the University of Iowa Pride Alliance Center Tuesday night as people gathered in honor of Transgender Day of Remembrance to show their support for the transgender community.

In an effort to honor the transgender and gender-nonbinary individuals who have died in the last year across the globe, the UI Pride Alliance Center hosted a vigil to commemorate the Transgender Day of Remembrance.

Students read the names, home city or country, and date of death of the more than 300 known transgender people killed since the last Transgender Day of Remembrance.

“I know the reading of names can be hard to listen to, but it’s so important to acknowledge the privileges that we may have and keep the trans community in our hearts,” UI sophomore Quentin Kinzy said.

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The Iowa City City Council signed a proclamation declaring Nov. 20 the Transgender Day of Remembrance at its meeting Tuesday.

“Transgender individuals are exposed to widespread social stigma… Our entire community is diminished due to loss of people from this community,” Iowa City Mayor Jim Throgmorton said Tuesday.

Noemi Ford, a member of the Iowa City Human Rights Commission, accepted the proclamation. Ford said the deaths of 22 transgender or gender-nonbinary individuals have been accounted for in the U.S. so far in 2019.

Ford stressed the importance of recognizing that the state of Iowa doesn’t provide transgender-inclusive health benefits and holds no restrictions on conversion therapy. Fatal violence disproportionately affects people of color, Ford added.

UI sophomore Kyle Braeseke was proud Iowa City chose to honor the Transgender Day of Remembrance, saying that visibility is extremely important to the community.

“The violence against the trans community is so prevalent worldwide, and having this day is important in order to not forget those who have died or let their stories and voices be lost,” Braeseke said. “It highlights the importance of advocacy for trans rights, especially intersectionality, to acknowledge how racism, misogyny, and transphobia contribute to the extremely high rates of murdered trans women of color as well.”

Braeseke said the community’s struggles are acknowledged by a day of remembrance and sharing such stories is integral to social change.

Kinzy said transgender people often refer to each other as siblings, and in events such as the vigil, everyone can finally feel as if they are surrounded by family. It’s important to keep the transgender community in everyone’s hearts, he said.

Kinzy said he and others hope to be catalysts for social change, and he’s glad that Iowa City is acknowledging the Transgender Day of Remembrance.

“We are here for one another, and we stand for one another. It gives me a sense of hope and pride, a profound sense of strength to fight for access to the life we have been denied for so long,” Kinzy said. “We can continue in the footsteps of trailblazers before us along this path to progress. I believe in better days, and I hope you all can too.”

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