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Each year on November 20th, the world marks Transgender Day of Remembrance, a somber occasion to recognize the lives that have been lost to anti-transgender violence over the past year. As the tragically-long list of those who were remembered in last year's event indicates, within the U.S., transgender people of color overwhelmingly comprise those whose lives are taken by acts of violence. Many are also young people, a fact of special concern to the Commission as it pursues its charge of making the Commonwealth safer for LGBTQ youth.
The Massachusetts Trans Political Coalition is tracking events happening statewide in recognition of this important day, at which the Commission hopes to have representation and offer support. So far, events have been planned for Boston on November 19 at 6pm; Chelmsford on November 18 at 6pm; and Harwich on November 17 at 5:30pm. More events may be announced in other parts of the Commonwealth as the time approaches.
The history of Transgender Day of Remembrance dates back to 1998. That November, a transgender African American woman was murdered in Boston – the fourth deadly incident of anti-transgender violence to happen in the Boston area over the course of just a few years. The death of 35-year-old Rita generated local and national anger over the violence faced by transgender people, as well as the way the issue was covered in the media and perceived by the general public. That tragic incident helped launch what today is known as the Day of Remembrance.
In Boston, a vigil will take place at the Cathedral of St. Paul at 138 Tremont Street. Hundreds are expected to attend to light candles, listen to the names of those who have passed away, and hear from community members and performers. Commission staff have been working with organizers to help plan the event and provide representation, including by providing information and resources at a table during a potluck dinner scheduled to follow the vigil.
Organizers for the Boston vigil are currently seeking volunteers to help manage the vigil and potluck. Additionally, people of trans experience are being sought to help read the names of those who have lost their lives during the candlelight vigil.
Those who wish to volunteer at the Boston event, or to help represent the Commission at events happening throughout the Commonwealth, should contact the Commission’s director, Corey Prachniak-Rincón, at firstname.lastname@example.org.