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Trans Day of Remembrance

Approximately two dozen marchers carrying signs begging for understanding and peace kicked off the eighth annual Transgender Day of Remembrance in Vancouver, Nov 20. The march began at the corner of E Hastings and Main at 7:30 pm and finished at the SFU Harbour Centre.

The Transgender Day of Remembrance is an annual, international memorial to victims of anti-transgendered violence killed in the last year. It began with a candlelight vigil in San Francisco in 1999 to honour Rita Hester, who was murdered the year before. This year’s memorial website (www.rememberingourdead.org/day/) lists 19 known victims of transphobic murder around the world in 2005.

Tami Starlight, who has been at the helm of Vancouver’s Day of Remembrance since its inception, says that although attendance was down this year at the local march, she still believes it’s an important event worth attending.

“This event really speaks directly to what goes on in the lives of trans people worldwide, which is really, really important,” she says. “People come away from this event profoundly impacted because we talk about how people were murdered, how people were stabbed multiple times, shot, set on fire. It is a really powerful tool to help show society what trans people face.

“I think this event is hugely important in getting the mainstream community to participate in solutions,” she adds.

For marcher Davyd Hvaal, the Transgender Day of Remembrance is a way to pay your respects to those that fought in years past. “It’s a way for me to say thank you to all those that gave their lives so I can have the freedoms I enjoy today,” says Hvaal. “The grand total of it is that [the violence] has to stop. It won’t overnight, but people around the world need to realize that [transgendered people] aren’t going away.”