Community gathers for vigil in Kelowna tonight to remember trans lives lost | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Community gathers for vigil in Kelowna tonight to remember trans lives lost

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A candlelight vigil for Trans Day of Remembrance is taking place in Kelowna tonight to honour the hundreds of lives lost in the past year.

Advocacy Canada, supported by Kelowna Pride, is holding the vigil at 7 p.m. today, Nov. 20, at Stuart Park in Kelowna to remember the 393 lives lost to violence and self-harm.

“Many of those trans lives are some that were lost due to violence and horrific abuse so we, not only remember them, but we realize that there’s a lot of anti-trans hate and violence and we bring awareness to that,” Wilbur Turner from Advocacy Canada says.

Trans Day of Remembrance was started 24 years ago after an American trans woman died as a result of a hate crime. Rita Hester was killed in 199 because she was trans.

“We didn’t hold a public vigil last year because several members of the trans community did not feel safe to do so under the climate of targeted harassment and hate towards the trans community,” Turner says. “It is very much related to the anti-trans and anti-SOGI events that have been happening right here in Kelowna, the protesting at school board meetings, rallies and marches, it makes people feel unsafe.”

Along with the lighting of candles, there will be two speakers and the names of the 393 people who died this year will be read out loud.

“One of the things we want to bring awareness to is that targeted violence, whether it be physical or otherwise, makes the world less safe for everyone and the pain of the anti-trans bigotry stands beyond the physical and into the emotional leading to some people seeing the only escape through self-harm so when we look at the people we’ve lost this year, we see a lot of them were lost through suicide.”

Turner says many allies will be present, adding it's the support of the community that has made the event possible this year.

All are welcome to partake in the vigil and light a candle to remember the lives lost to anti-trans violence and bigotry.

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