Kent Students Commemorate Transgender Day of Remembrance

Attendees hug at Kent State's Trans Day of Remembrance vigil. Photo by Carlyle Addy.

Jamie Lee Wounded Arrow, Mesha Caldwell, Sean Hake, Jojo Striker, Tiara Lashaytheboss Richmond, Jaquarrius Holland, Chyna Doll Dupree, Ciara McElveen, Alphonza Watson, Chayviss Reed, Kenneth Bostick, Sherrell Faulkner, Kenne McFadden, Josie Berrios, Ava Le’Ray Barrin, Ebony Morgan, TeeTee Dangerfield, Gwynevere River Song, Kiwi Herring, Kashmire Redd, Derricka Banner, Ally Steinfeld, Stephanie Montez, Candace Towns.

These are the names of the 25 trans people who have been killed in the United States in 2017.

“We live in interesting times. Knowledge about the transgender community is more widespread than it has been. Visibility of trans individuals is at an all-time high. But violence towards folks who identify as trans is on the rise as well,” said Katie Mattise, program coordinator at the Student Center.

Trans Day of Remembrance was started in 1998 by Gwendolyn Ann Smith in memory of Rita Hester. It takes place on November 20th every year to honor the trans people who have passed away because of violence.

Avery McGirr, President of Trans*Fusion, KSU’s transgender student group, opened the evening by taking a moment of silence for Amanda Kenner. Kenner was an active member of ’s LGBTQ community, who McGirr described as someone who has “touched many lives, including mine.” McGirr donated a piece of art to the LGBTQ Student Center in her memory.

The vigil provoked many emotions, especially for Noah Kuiken, a sophomore psychology major. Kuiken read the names of the people who were killed in the United States this year, and they finished reading the list with a tearful moment of silence.

“I cried last year too,” said Kuiken, after the vigil ended. “We made signs that contained the names instead of reading them, but it still was just as emotional.”

This was Kuiken’s second year attending the Trans Day of Remembrance vigil.

Worldwide, over 270 people have been killed because of transphobic violence in 2017. However, these are only the names that are known and reported.

The night ended with offers of free hugs and emotional support from those in attendance.  

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