In America since January 1, 26 trans people have been murdered. Their names and lives were memorialized with transgender flags and placards placed in the audience at yesterday’s Transgender Day of Remembrance service.
About 140 people from the trans and allied communities gathered at the Hampton Roads Convention Center for the event produced by Access AIDS CAre and the LGBT Center of Hampton Roads. It was one of hundreds in an international day of memorializing transgender people who have lost their lives around the world. The latest murder was just last week in Richmond.
Toni-Michelle Williams, Norfolk native, spoke movingly about her personal experiences in the local trans community. Williams, a leader of an Atlanta-based black trans coalition called SNaP Co, spoke of her close friends in Norfolk, including one who was murdered here in 2015.
Gloucester teen Gavin Grimm also spoke about his impending Supreme Court case against the Gloucester School Board. “We won’t be marginalized. We won’t have exceptions made for us. We are stomper than they are. And together we will win.”
The keynote speaker, Kristin Beck, closed the event with her story as the first female Navy Seal. Beck, who was stationed in Norfolk during her tenure with Navy Seal Team 6, is a Purple Heart recipient.
“We all must be activists,” she said. “Whether you get out in the streets or march in the halls of Congress or simply support one another with a kind word or gesture.”