Honoring Lives Lost on International Transgender Remembrance Day

Each year more than one hundred of those individuals lose their lives to suicide or violence

MOORHEAD, Minn. — In the United States alone, about 1.4 million adults identify as transgender and thousands more are around the world.

Each year more than one hundred of those individuals lose their lives to suicide or violence.

People everywhere are honoring those lives lost.

“We are not just saying that we are discriminated against. We are actually being murdered at a fairly alarming rate,” said Raymond Rea, an NDSU Film Professor.

November 20th is International Transgender Remembrance Day.

It’s a day for communities around the world to remember transgender people who have died by violence or suicide.

“For myself, as a suicide survivor, tonight is especially important. It’s a milestone, another day, year, that myself and others like myself have made it,” said Katrina Jo Koesterman, an organizer of the ceremony.

First Congregational United Church of Christ in Moorhead is one of the many places holding a service not just for the transgender community, but also for supporters.

“You are welcome if you are an ally,” Koesterman said.

“This is an issue and I think it’s important that we bring it to the community’s attention,” Raymond said.

In past years about 100 names have been read during the services but this year, those numbers have increased.

“Two-hundred and fifty names this year is a lot of names, and it’s really heart wrenching to sit and listen to 250 names,” said Reverand Michelle Webber at First Congregational United Church of Christ.

Hearing those names is a reminder of how real this problem is.

“So many of them are very young. Seventeen, 18. I mean, people who really didn’t even have a chance at life,” Raymond said.

“How people who identify as transgender are treated not just in the united states but around the world,” Michelle said.

Embracing people for who they are, is step one to solving this problem.

“Let us be us, let us continue to be ourselves,” Koesterman said.

“People in the transgender community are first and foremost people,” Raymond said.

Advocates say honoring those lost on this day is important but becoming an ally all year–long is crucial.

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