They marched. They shouted. They cried. They remembered.
Trans Day of Remembrance (TDoR) was observed Nov. 20 in Wilton Manors. About 80 people gathered at The Pride Center at Equality Park and marched up Dixie to Five Points then down Wilton Drive to Wilton Collective.
As they walked, they carried candles and pictures of trans people who have been murdered, simply for living their own truth. Some people knew the person in the photo. Others carried the picture of a stranger, making their spirit a part of the evening.
“We need to stop the violence that’s going on against transgender women,” First Lady Kendra told SFGN. “People feel that just because we live our life the way we live, it’s okay to kill us. There’s much hate preached about us.”
Twenty twenty-one has seen a spike in violence against the trans community. There have been nearly twice as many murders of trans people compared to 2020, and a big increase in other violent crimes. The most moving part of the night was when each murdered person’s name was read aloud, each one feeling like a punch to the gut.
Once they arrived at Wilton Collective, people placed flowers in front of the mural that reads “Black Trans Lives Matter.” About a dozen speakers talked about the fear they live in as trans people, violence they’ve survived, and the discrimination they’ve endured. Kendra says she can’t even get respect for decent housing.
“Code enforcement refused to come to my house and do an inspection. I had bugs which caused me to be hospitalized.”
Julian Cavazos owns Wilton Collective, which develops LGBTQ+ youth by teaching them business skills through working at the store. Several trans youth work there and he was thrilled to be a part of the night and be a positive experience for them.
“What a great place for this march to end at, where there’s a whole new generation of trans youth working. It’s a solemn event but in that we also get to look at the great trans youth that are working here.”
Former Wilton Manors City Commissioner Julie Carson has been a trans advocate for years and is glad to see this event continue to grow.
“This was always a very important event to bring our city staff into the fold so they would understand the importance of this event, remembering the names of people who’ve been lost to violence.”
She says bringing attention to trans rights, even to a city as progressive as Wilton Manors, has been an uphill battle.
“I was the first city commissioner to advocate for inclusive healthcare that includes gender confirmation surgery. The commission voted no, no, no, no, and no. It took me three years to get everyone on board."
In addition to physical attacks, the trans community continues to be subjected to legislative attacks around the country. Bills target restroom use and access to play high school sports. Tatiana Williams of Transinclusive Group says they are getting ready to fight for trans rights when Florida’s legislative session starts early next year.
“I’ll be in Tallahassee this year and hopefully we’ll be impactful."
Photo courtesy of John Hayden.