Edmontonians honour victims of transphobic violence, prejudice
Published Saturday, November 17, 2012 6:26PM MST
Edmontonians honoured those in the transgendered community who have been killed because of transphobic violence at a memorial on Saturday.
Two hundred and 65 names were read aloud at the memorial, indicating the 265 transgendered people killed last year due to hatred and prejudice.
Most of the names were of people from other countries but for the first time in four years, the list included a Canadian.
“They still face a lot of the same risks. I think culturally Canada is much better when it comes to acceptance of diversity,” said organizer Angela Reid.
“We do still have quite a ways to go.”
Reid says the number of people being killed due to anti-transgender hatred and prejudice continues to rise.
“There’s been an increasing trend,” she said. “It does go up and up over the years unfortunately.”
Edmonton’s transgendered community and supporters gathered to make sure those who died after never forgotten. The ceremony is also a call for change.
“There are significant challenges for trans folks in for example obtaining legal documents that properly reflect their identity because when they’re forced to present documents that do not have information that matches their appearance or possibly their name or the gender marker, it outs them to whoever they’re having to present that to,” Reid said.
“There’s no telling what kind of reaction you might find.”
Several speakers took to the stage, including MLA Laurie Blakeman, who has been fighting for equality for the transgendered community.
“It’s a matter of getting the rest of the folks out there to understand that there is discrimination, that its based on something like gender identity and that it’s not a choice. It’s what happens to people and as a result of that they have every right to be protected but more than that to live a full life equal in participation in the life of the province,” Blakeman said.
Blakeman continues to fight to have the phrase ‘gender identity’ added to the list of people who should not be discriminated against.
“Gender identity is one of the ones that haven’t regularly made it onto the list. It’s still foreign. Where we can understand and accept things like sexual orientation onto the list, gender identity is still a struggle,” she said.
“Every time I get a piece of legislation or a review of an act or any place where I can start to move that forward, I do, and I put it in place.
November 20 officially marks Transgender Day of Remembrance.
With files from Amanda Anderson