The murders of 38 transgender women were honored at last
night’s fifth annual Transgender Day of Remembrance.

Kate Green
JEFF LEHNERT/Daily
Members of the Outloud Chorus perform on the Diag as part of the Transgender Day of Remembrance last night. A candlelight ceremony followed the performance.

Participants began on the Diag with a musical selection from the
Outloud Chorus and was followed by the lighting of candles to honor
the deceased victims. The group then marched with their candles
across the Diag and down State Street toward the Michigan
Union.

“This year is the second time we’ve had this event
and we hope that by having it on the University’s campus,
that we bring more awareness to the cause,” said Kelly
Garret, assistant director of the Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual
and Transgender Affairs at the University.

The group commemorated transgender victims by reading the names
and biographies of those who were murdered in the last year.

Two of the recent victims were from southeastern Michigan.
Twenty-one-year-old Tamara Michaels was murdered in Highland Park.
The body of Nikki Nicholas, a 19-year-old transgender woman, was
found in Green Oak Township, just north of Ann Arbor.

The evening concluded with an open forum that gave attendees the
opportunity to share their experiences and reactions to the
violence against transgenders. “I am here on behalf of my
transgender friends, and I am an ally for people that were too
scared to come to this event tonight,” said Ann Arbor
resident Lindsey Larkin. “I also came to learn and educate
myself on these matters. I may be able to better communicate these
issues with people that aren’t part of the gay
community.”

Since 1999, this memorial has taken place every year in more
than 90 locations in eight countries. “Five years ago, Gwen
Smith started a website that kept track of all the (transgender)
women that had been murdered in different cities, both in the
United States and abroad,” Garret added.

Presently, the University is working with the Transgender,
Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual taskforce — a part of the Office of
LGBT Affairs — that deals with making the University a safer
place for the people of these communities.

The event was sponsored by the Ann Arbor-based Transgender
Advocacy Project.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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