Somber Vigils Mark Transgender Day of Remembrance

Destination Tomorrow’s Transgender Day of Remembrance event.
Adrian Childress

Several emotional vigils and gatherings were held across the city over the weekend to commemorate Transgender Day of Remembrance, which was on November 20.

On November 19, Bronx-based LGBTQ organization Destination Tomorrow hosted their fourth annual silent vigil and evening march, which started in Manhattan before attendees crossed the 145th Street Bridge and concluded in the Bronx. Folks held signs with a range of messages paying tribute to lost loved ones: One of the canvases at that event simply read “Trans Lives Matter,” while a separate one stated, “Being trans isn’t a choice… Being transphobic is!” Another sign offered a gender-affirming message, saying, “Trans women are women. Trans men are men.”

The following day — Transgender Day of Remembrance — brought additional events intended to shed light on transgender individuals who have lost their lives. The Caribbean Equality Project, Queer Detainee Empowerment Project, and Trans Asylias turned to dancing and music as they focused their Transgender Day of Remembrance event on Black and Brown transgender and non-binary refugees and asylum seekers. That same evening, Gays Against Guns brought back the “Human Beings” — folks dressed in all white who held placards paying tribute to each individual who suffered deadly violence this year. The Human Beings have become a regular part of Transgender Day of Remembrance events since originally emerging to represent the individuals who died at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando in 2016.

Gays Against Guns’ Human Beings made their way from the Washington Square Park arch to Judson Memorial Church to join Rev. Micah Busey and Bridges 4 Life for a candlelight vigil in honor of those who have passed.

There were multiple other Transgender Day of Remembrance events around the city, including at Manhattan’s Little Island, where the LGBT Community Center hosted a gathering featuring messages of hope, grief, and solidarity, and in Queens, where Make the Road New York led the community at Corona Plaza.

This year’s Transgender Day of Remembrance events were held after the nation surpassed another deadly milestone, with 47 transgender or non-binary individuals suffering violent deaths — a death toll that already shattered existing records with still another month remaining in the year.

Destination Tomorrow executive director Sean Coleman holds a canvas in honor of trans folks who have passed away.Adrian Childress
Destination Tomorrow’s candlelight vigil.Adrian Childress
While Transgender Day of Remembrance includes tributes to those who have passed, it also presents an opportunity to stand up for those who are alive.Adrian Childress
Community members join together for Transgender Day of Remembrance.Adrian Childress
Gays Against Guns’ Human Beings bring attention to individuals lost to gun violence.Donna Aceto
Highlighting the importance of standing up for trans individuals on Transgender Day of Remembrance.Donna Aceto
The candlelight vigil at Judson Memorial Church.Donna Aceto
A dancer performs at the Queer Detainee Empowerment Project’s Transgender Day of Remembrance event.Donna Aceto