As dozens gather on the steps of Georgia Capitol each Nov. 20, names are read aloud, each followed by a single chime of a bell ringing out into the cold night.
The gathering is the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance vigil, and the names are of transgender people who have died due to violence or discrimination. The bell is a stark reminder that some people want others who are “different” to be forgotten. Forever.
“This is the most emotional part of the vigil to me,” says Tracee McDaniel, founder and executive director of the Juxtaposed Center for Transformation, Inc., and organizer of Atlanta’s Transgender Day of Remembrance.
“These people are deceased. We memorialize those individuals by reciting their names — their families don’t want to remember them, others don’t want to remember them. We are making sure their names and their memories are remembered,” McDaniel says.