Vigil for Transgender Day of Remembrance

On Friday 20th November, students at Newcastle University took part in a candlelight vigil in remembrance of those who have lost their lives as a result of anti-transgender hatred and violence.

The vigil was held by Northumbria University and took place at Exhibition Park at 5.30pm.

There was a candlelight service to remember those who had suffered as a result of their gender identity.

This year marks the 16th year since the first ever Transgender Day of Remembrance, with the first event organised by Gwendolyn Ann Smith to remember Rita Hester who was killed.

Smith said: “The Transgender Day of Remembrance seeks to highlight the losses we face due to anti-transgender bigotry and violence.

“With so many seeking to erase transgender people… it is vitally important that those we lose are remembered, and that we continue to fight for justice.”

The day aimed to increase awareness of the transgender community and the difficulties they face on a day-to-day basis, something that many feel should be done more often by the media.

It also helps people to mourn and remember those who have died and express love and respect against what they believe to be national indifference.

Friday’s events were particularly poignant as it was reported on the day that Vicky Thompson, aged 21, a transgender woman being held at Armley prison in Leeds had been found dead.

Her death came after months of campaigning from both her solicitor, Mohammed Hussain, and the general public, to allow her to be transferred to New Hall women’s prison.

Miss Thompson was born male but had identified as female since her mid-teens.

Sadly, Thompson is one of many victims who face daily discrimination because of their gender identity.

Evidence from an inquiry launched by the Women and Equalities Committee in August this year shows the experience of Dr Arvin Chaudhary, a transgender female.

She said: “I travelled all the way to the Fiji islands to get the medication because I couldn’t get any support from my GP in London.

“I went through bouts of depression and even attempted suicide but no one gave a genuine interest.”

An anonymous account from the same enquiry states: “ I approached my GP alone. I was initially asked if I was in fact simply a gay man and had difficulties expressing myself.

An introduction to the investigation states: “Government has recognised that all hate crimes are significantly under-reported and has identified transgender victims as one group of particular need.

In a post by Planet Transgender, it has been reported that a Transgender person is killed every 29 hours.

To find out more about Transgender Day of Remembrance, visit tdor.info.

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