Trans Day of Remembrance honors lost loved ones


A volunteer stands alone along side the trans flag. Photo credit: Mary Vogel

Chico State’s Gender Sexuality and Equity Center, Stonewall Alliance Center, Faith Lutheran Church and Associated Students hosted a series of events this week celebrating the Trans Week of Resilience.

The Transgender Day of Remembrance is an annual event observed on Nov. 20 honoring the lives of those lost due to violence against a transgender person.

Remember (Optimized)
A memorial for just a handful of those lost this year due to trans violence or discrimination Photo credit: Mary Vogel
Name Them (Optimized)
A volunteer preparing to read names of trans lives lost this year. Photo credit: Mary Vogel

One of these events included a Remembrance service held on Transgender Day of Remembrance at Faith Lutheran Church.

The Trans Day of Remembrance was started in 1999 by transgender advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith to honor the memory of Rita Hester a prominent transgender woman who was killed the year before.

Not Alone (Optimized)
Two attendees embrace after an emotional reminder of the path carved for trans lives and how much we still have to go. Photo credit: Mary Vogel
Here Together (Optimized)
An attendee sporting LGBTQ+ colors in support of the event and the people. Photo credit: Mary Vogel

According to local advocate and board member at the Stonewall Alliance Center Connor Wenzel, at this service, the names of 332 Trans individuals who had passed away in 2019 were read.

“I think we all came here today to honor all the lives lost of trans people internationally and in our community,” Chico State senior Annika Hansen said.

Volunteers were brought up to read international names first, providing the name — if one was provided — followed by their age and where they were from.

A total of 32 seats at the front of the room were left empty in remembrance of Trans individuals from the United States.

When reading those names, testimonies from friends and families about their lives were also included, along with their ages and where they lived.

At the back of the room there was also a table filled with memorabilia associated with the individuals.

Wenzel said the event is their way of connecting with the community and realizing commonalities and that no one in the community is alone.

After the service attendees were encouraged to stay and create art in remembrance of those lost and connect with others.

“I think there’s a lot of beauty here today, there is a lot of people and a lot of love,” Hansen said.

Carolyn Allen can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @carolynallen48.