By Phoebe Terry
Nov. 20 Amarillo College Pride observed the Transgender Day of Remembrance in the Concert Hall Theater as a collaboration between AC Pride and the Amarillo Area Transgender Advocacy Group There was a candlelight vigil held before the event.
“Transgender Day of Remembrance was started in 1999 by transgender advocate, Gwendolyn Ann Smith, as a vigil to honor the memory of Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was killed in 1998,” Micah Smith, sponsor of AC pride said. ”The vigil commemorated all the transgender people lost to violence since Rita Hester’s death and began an important tradition that has become the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance.”
The event also featured musical performances and speakers from local affirming churches and organizations.
“Since the beginning of AC Prides time as a student organization, we have tried to hold an annual event to commemorate Transgender Day of Remembrance,” Smith said. “We participate in this day of mourning, honoring, and celebrating to pay respect to each life to each life that has been lost in this community. Transgender and nonbinary individuals face elevated risks for depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, and attempts to complete suicide compared to their cisgender counterparts. They are also more likely to become victims of violence, whether it is domestic violence, hate crimes, or police brutality. Transgender and nonbinary folks are also humans that die for the same human reasons that anyone else may succumb to. Because of their strength, resilience, and the light they bring to the LGBTQIA+ community, we want to honor every life that has been lost in this community, no matter the reason they aren’t here anymore, who they are, where they’re from.”
In 2020 President Joe Biden formally recognized the Transgender Day of Remembrance and issued a statement calling the violence towards trans women across the nation intolerable.