Vigil held for Transgender Day of Remembrance
 

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posted Friday, November 26, 2010 - Volume 38 Issue 48

Vigil held for Transgender Day of Remembrance
by James Whitely - SGN Staff Writer

On Saturday, November 20, about 125 people gathered for a candlelight vigil at Cal Anderson Park for the Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR), a day where Transgender people and Transgender allies alike gather to mourn and remember Transgender victims of violence who have died in the past year.

'We wanted it to be also a celebration of sorts,' said Sidney Lewis Friend, an organizer of the vigil and an organizer with the Sex Workers Outreach Project (SWOP). 'It was meant to be sort of this alchemical mix; 'Yes, these people have been murdered, but we're going to transform that energy into something positive.'

Put together by SWOP and the University of Washington's Q Center, the vigil featured a static fire display, poetry, and a video project created by Lewis Friend, which is currently still in production as an ongoing project. An open mic was also available for anyone, and many came up to read their own poetry.

According to Lewis Friend, a static fire display was elected over a fire performance to convey the somber tone of the vigil.

One hundred and eighty names were read off in total - all Transgender people who were killed since the last TDOR.

'We read off their country, name, and age,' said Lewis Friend.

He had gotten a list of names and the descriptions of their cases, which he used for the list at the vigil.

'It was like 42 pages long - it was hard to stomach,' Lewis Friend told SGN.

'Half of the people's names I called out were sex workers,' said Lewis Friend. 'It feels like there's an undeclared war on Transgendered people.'

For his video project, Lewis Friend is asking for people all around the world who have access to the internet and consider themselves a Transgendered person or Transgender ally to record a piece of their own poetry, which he'll edit together into a film.

'I experience so much stigma from the outside world for being genderqueer. For me, it was a time to remember people who were brave enough to be themselves with that stigma,' Lewis Friend told SGN.

'It was a display of allyship & people care, people give a damn & they were there, they were present, I could feel it and it felt really great,' said Lewis Friend.

Next year, in addition to hoping that the list will be shorter than this one, Lewis Friend is planning on collaborating with Ingersoll Gender Center as well as having a larger reel for her video project.

For more information on the Northwest chapter of SWOP, visit: www.nw-swop.org or search for them on Facebook.



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