Dec 1, 2021
Content Warning: Transphobia, Fascist violence
Art by Forest
International Transgender Day of Remembrance is commemorated annually on November 20th. The day was founded to draw attentionday was founded to draw attention to the ceaseless violence endured byto the ceaseless violence endured by trans and genderqueer communities.
On Saturday, November 20th a memorial vigil was held at Unitarianmemorial vigil was held at Unitarian Universalist Church in Eugene. The vigil was put on by TransPonder,vigil was put on by TransPonder, a small grassroots organizationa small grassroots organization founded entirely by trans people andfounded entirely by trans people and based here in Eugene. TransPonder worked in association with theworked in association with the LGBTESS organization here on campus. The ceremony included a reading of names ritual, a statementreading of names ritual, a statement from the Mayor Lucy Vinis, and afrom the Mayor Lucy Vinis, and a keynote address from Transponder Executive Director Kyle Rodriguez-Hudson.
In the entrance of the church, there were two tables full of colorful, unlit candles. Above the stage, pictures were posted on a memorial wall, showing 61 photographs of exuberant, beautiful human beings lost in the past year due to transphobic and hate-related violence.
Participants of the ceremony were invited to light a candle, write down a thought or prayer, and set them on the altar. The vigil was a welcoming and somber setting that gave everyone space to be emotionally vulnerable.
A haiku was written and shared for each individual pictured on the commemoration wall. The poems were about who they were, who loved them, what impacts they have had, and why they will be forever missed. The vigil served as a space to recognize and celebrate the lives of queer family that had been taken too soon. It was a space full of community grief, vulnerability, storytelling, and resilience. In 2021, over 360 trans and gender nonconforming lives were lost due to gender-related violence. The queer community has lost 360 family members and they will not be forgotten.