About 80 people gathered to read names of transgender individuals killed in the past year.

 

Outside the Galbreath Chapel, LGBT staff member Ryan Lovingood gave slips of paper to each person entering. The slips contained the names of transgender individuals who have been murdered across the world — most within the past year.

About 80 people gathered for the International Transgender Day of Remembrance Vigil in the chapel at 8 p.m. Thursday.

The event was one of many in honor of Trans Education Week, which began Monday.

“We’re handing (the papers) out because everyone deserves to be known, spoken for and remembered,” Lovingood, a second year graduate student studying financial economics, said. “I really hope that people come here and see that the slips of paper I have in my hand are too many to count and recognize that this is an ongoing issue.”

The vigil opened with words from delfin bautista, director of the Ohio University LGBT Center.

“We are thrivers,” bausita, who uses they/them pronouns and lowercase spelling of their name, said at the event. “We thrive as activists, people who bind, people who express gender through makeup, affirm pronouns as a part of identity, stride with pride in the face of slurs on Court Street.”

After bautista's speech, Title IX, a student-led soprano/alto a cappella group, performed a cappella versions of a number of songs including Imogen Heap’s “Hide and Seek,” Jason Derulo’s “Whatcha Say” and Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful.”

After the performance, bautista opened the microphone to anyone who wanted to share stories, essays or poetry.

About 10 people took the microphone. People performed slam poetry, shared poems and read personal stories about their experiences coming out as LGBT.

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“I came out about two years ago,” Tiifany Anderson, who is a transgender woman and a freshman studying computer science, said. “It’s really been a struggle with my parents because they’re still trying to accept that, … finding a space where I feel safe and comfortable at, that’s been a struggle for me.”

After the open microphone, members of the audience read the names and information about the transgender person who was killed on their slip. They then placed the slips in a container at the front of the room and took an electric candle with them to their seat. Many of the slips of paper included the ways in which transgender individuals were killed, which ranged from death by stab wounds and gunshots to police beatings.

After bautista spoke a few more words about the vigil, the chapel chanted “Trans Lives Matter.” After the vigil, all were invited into the basement for refreshments.

Fox Alexander, a sophomore studying English, came to the event as a trans individual to show solidarity and said they were happy about the turnout.

“A lot of people cried. That’s not a good thing, but it meant that the people felt comfortable enough to elicit emotional responses, which is really important,” Alexander, who prefers they/them pronouns, said. “The number of people that showed up was really good in my opinion because it showed to queer people in the audience and all around that there is friendship here, there is solidarity.”

@rachel_hartwick

rh375113@ohio.edu

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