For the first time ever the transgender flag was raised outside the B.C. Legislature on Wednesday, honouring those who have been murdered or killed because someone disagreed with their gender identity.
Nov. 20 is Transgender Day of Remembrance, an annual observance that began in 1999 as a vigil to honor the memory of Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was killed the year before in Boston. The vigil commemorated all the transgender people lost to violence since Hester’s death and began an important tradition.
Mitzi Dean, parliamentary secretary for gender equity, addressed the crowd of supporters, along with Aaron Devor, chair of transgender studies at the University of Victoria, and ChrŸs Tei, executive director of the Rainbow Health Cooperative.
— kendra crighton (@kendracrighton) November 20, 2019
“Trans people are living proof that the spirit of this world is committed to one job we share, evolution is trying every possible combination of human with the hope that together we will figure out a way,” said Tei, to a crowd of supporters gathered in front of the flag pole. “We are proof that although there’s never been a promise of an easy life, there has always been the promise that we will have the means to solve the problems of life.”
A candlelight vigil will be held Wednesday evening in Bastion Square, where a list of about 300 names of transgender people who were murdered or killed in the past year will be read out. Tei said the list has been getting longer each year the event has taken place since 2014.
According to Tei getting the list of names is always a “scramble” because only a handful of non profits around the world track transgender deaths and some countries — such as Russia and many places in Asia — don’t track the number at all. Tei says this is where she’d like to see Canada step up and help organize.