PEORIA, Ill.– Peoria Proud is hosting its sixth annual observance of International Transgender Day of Remembrance on Wednesday evening.
This vigil will recognize and honor the victims who lost their lives to anti-trans violence.
“One of the biggest things that can change I think hate and misunderstanding are just simple conversations with people. You need to know people’s stories, seeing them as human, not just on a tv show or on a news report,” Pastor at Imago Dei Church, Rev. Josh Lee said.
According to the Human Rights Campaign, at least 22 transgender and gender non-conforming people lose their lives every year. Of those 22 victims, 91% of them were black women, 81% were under the age of 30 and 68% lived in the south.
“Trans-folks become the lighting rob of some really toxic violence. For those of us who are in the alphabet number, don’t forget the T in the LGBTQ. Advocate for them as well, who are often also fighting for their rights and their own discriminatory practices,” he says.
The remembrance was held at Universalist Unitarian Church located at 3000 W Richwoods Blvd from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. The program consisted of a parent telling her story about her three children being apart of the LGBTQ community and a discussion panel with local transgender.
“When folks don’t really feel known the never feel loved,” he said. “I know that was true for myself for many years because when I was in the closet I never felt loved because I never felt known”
Transgender Day of Remembrance was started in 1999 by transgender advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith, according to GLAAD.
For LGBTQ+ resources, click here.