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|Atlanta marks Transgender Day of Remembrance|
|by Dyana Bagby|
|November 22, 2011 23:13|
Participants in the annual Atlanta Transgender Day of Remembrance read 222 names and instances of transgender people around the world killed violently for who they are. At the conclusion of the Nov. 20 vigil on the steps of the state capitol, groups of red balloons were released into the sky, representing the blood of those violently attacked and killed in 2011.
Sir Jesse Beller, a DeKalb County teacher and trans activist who works with the Georgia Safe Schools Coalition, played “Taps” on his trumpet to remember the dead.
Organized by Tracee McDaniel, founder and CEO of the Juxtaposed Center for Transformation, and supported by numerous organizations including Lambda Legal, Georgia Equality, the Human Rights Campaign and Meak Productions, the annual event attracted some 100 people this year.
Numerous speakers praised the resilience of transgender people. Others addressed the need for lesbian, gay and bisexual people — the LGB — to understand and fight for the T in the overall movement for equality.
Atlanta Police Department LGBT liaison Officer Brian Sharp talked about the discrimination he and his partner, Daniel, face from within the gay community because Daniel identifies as gender queer.
“We get the stares and the comments and the threats and the confrontations while we’re just simply trying to live our lives. When we try to use a public restroom or order popcorn in a movie theater,” Sharp said.
“But the sad fact is it’s not just the world out there. This marginalization and discrimination takes place within our own community. In order for us to have equality amongst the masses we have to make sure we have equality within our own community,” he said.
Cheryl Courtney-Evans, founder of Transgender Individuals Living Their Truth, said attending Transgender Day of Remembrance does not make one a transgender activist. It is an ongoing war for equality for trans and gender non-conforming people that must be continued every day, she said.
“When I think of this evening of memorializing of our dead, lighting the candle, reading the names, I have to wonder, ‘What do we do when it is over?’ Is it just another event that we’ve attended? I hope to think not,” she said. “I hope to think that we go forward from this evening teaching those who don’t know.”
Photo by Dyana Bagby
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