Local group holds Transgender Day of Remembrance vigil
COLUMBIA - Dozens gathered to honor victims of violence at MU's Traditions Plaza Thursday for a Transgender Day of Remembrance vigil.
The ceremony came as part of Transgender Empowerment and Awareness Week. It was hosted by Fluidity, a weekly discussion group at MU where members discuss gender identity and expression.
Volunteers read a list of names of those who have died as a result of transphobic violence in the last year.
"In light of recent events, especially the presidential election, I am reminded how much darkness there is in the world," said Cole Young, one of the student speakers at the event.
The Transgender Empowerment and Awareness Week is meant to help raise the visibility of transgender and gender non-conforming people. Besides the vigil, other events included keynote speakers, workshops and a dance.
"The big two themes are awareness and empowerment," said Sean Olmstead, the coordinator of MU's LGBTQ Resource Center. "This event ties into both of those by making a space for us to recognize that trans people face violence in this world and in this country and also for people to support and show allyship."
Transgender Day of Remembrance is usually celebrated on November 20, but it was celebrated earlier because students will be on Thanksgiving break.
"I hope that people just believe in stories from the LGBTQ community, particularly the trans community," Olmstead said. "I hope that people still see that there is violence that this community faces and that we all have a part to step in, to call out when we see things happening that aren't okay."
The week of celebration ends with two events, including a dance, Friday.