This Sunday, November 19, LGBT Life Center along with members of the community will come together to honor the transgender individuals who lost their lives this year to violence and assault.
LGBT Life Center has organized the event on Sunday to include prominent transgender keynote speakers, a dedication to the lives taken in 2017, a community reception and resource fair to provide healing, as well as an inclusive community forum.
“For this year’s event, we’re focusing on messages of remembrance, justice and hope for the transgender community and the innocent lives taken in 2017,” explained LGBT Life Center Chief Development Officer and chair of this year’s event, Christopher Reybrouck. “While this is a solemn time for the community, we hope to bring together allies to raise awareness of the inequality that our local trans community regularly faces.”
Ms. Tona Brown, the first transgender woman of color to perform at Carnegie Hall, will be speaking and performing during Sunday’s TDOR observance in commemoration of the 25 lives tragically lost in 2017 so far. Both a Norfolk native and alumni of the Governor School for the Arts, Brown’s international career as a vocalist and violinist has placed her as an inspiration to transgender men and women across the country.
Sunday’s event will also feature a vigil and interactive opportunities for guests to share their own experiences as well as hopes for the future to support the local transgender community in Hampton Roads.
In 2016, fatal violence against transgender individuals reached a record high, with at least 23 deaths tracked. Sadly, 2017 has been another heavy year with at least 25 transgender people killed through violent means across the United States.
“It seems that violence is inseparable from our current political climate,” said Stacie Walls-Beegle, CEO of LGBT Life Center. “Violence against the transgender community is on the rise across the nation, and proposals to make discrimination legal have occurred in legislatures in too many states; right here in Virginia our House of Delegates attempted to pass anti-transgender legislation in the form of a bathroom bill. We must do better to address this hate, condemn it, and make our communities safe and inviting for everyone.”
The TDOR 2017 event will occur on Sunday, November 19 at New Life MCC Church, 1000 Sunset Drive, Norfolk, Virginia 23503. This event is free and open to the public with donations gladly accepted to support the work of LGBT Life Center. The program begins at 5:00pm and will be followed by a reception for all to gather in remembrance.