Community comes together at Transgender Day of Remembrance vigil [photos]

The transgender community and allies came out Thursday night to honor those they’ve lost and discuss how to protect each other in the future at the Transgender Day of Remembrance. The event, held this year at the Phillip Rush Center Annex and organized by the Juxtaposed Center for Transformation (JCT), featured a slew of speakers from all corners of the trans community who relayed their message using the theme “It’s Time.”

Tracee McDaniel, executive director and founder of JCT, opened the event up with a welcome and introduced speakers throughout the evening, including keynote speaker Rev. Maressa Pendermon of the Unity Fellowship Church Movement (Atlanta).

“I believe that remembering in itself is a holy thing to do,” Rev. Pendermon said, before issuing a call to action to the community, and to transgender allies in particular.

“At our dinner tables, it’s time for us not to accept the jokes and unacceptable comments. In our workplaces it’s time for us to show up and advocate,” she said. “It is time for us to show up and be who we say we are, and not just talk the talk of ‘I’m with them.'”

Officer Brian Sharp, LGBT liaison for the Atlanta Police Department, spoke of the department’s new addition of “transgender interactions” to its Standard Operating Procedure.

“This isn’t a gay SOP, this isn’t a lesbian SOP. It is a transgender interaction SOP on how to deal with folks in the transgender community,” he said. “So now we have teeth behind the training that we’ve been doing.”

The evening ended with a bell toll, reading of the names of transgender individuals who lost their lives due to anti-trans violence and a moment of silence.