App State club Transaction, devoted to protecting the safety and rights of transgender and non-binary students, hosted its annual Trans Day of Remembrance event on Thursday.
International Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoR) is observed annually on Nov. 20 to remember those who fell victim to transphobic hate crimes. The observance draws attention to the continuous violence the transgender community endures all over the world.
TDoR mainly consists of reading hate crime victims’ respective names and causes of death.
This year 311 names were read.
After all names were read, junior medical illustration major and Transaction vice president Lee Hansen called for a moment of silence for the victims.
There were 309 recorded hate crime victims in 2017, a stark increase to the 92 victims noted in 2016, according to the Transgender Day of Remembrance website.
“I feel like a lot of people in the queer community think that our struggles are done, fake or in the past,” Hansen said. “It definitely isn’t anything in the past. It is something that is real and has advanced because of our political climate. It’s obvious it has gotten worse this year.”
After acknowledging hate crime victims, Transaction educates members outside of the transgender community.
Senior physics major and Transaction president Max Johnson aided in organizing the event, which included a panel made up of Johnson, Hansen and junior secondary education english and creative writing major and Transaction secretary Vic Hargrove.
“It is meant to be an information session on, ‘if you say something, do something,’” Johnson said.
Hargrove saw the TDoR panel as an important way to educate attendees on transgender terminology, identities and any other questions they may have.
“We say things in our own vernacular and people get lost,” Hargrove said. “Even if no one asks questions, I feel it is important to have the panel to make sure everybody is comfortable and aware that they can ask any question they need to. We are here to help in this setting.”
By acknowledging TDoR through the club event, Hargrove said they hope it will raise awareness for transgender students at App State.
“I hope it will raise awareness that we exist. We are here on campus, and we also exist in other countries,” Hargrove said. “We need the support of people who may not be trans. We need you to introduce yourself with your pronouns to invite us into spaces, to tell us we’re safe and to give us that safety.”
Hargrove said they only feel safe in pockets on campus, such as the LGBT Center, her dorm and a couple of her classes. However, they hope for a brighter future for the transgender community.
“I really hope the future is bright, queer, fun and liberated as opposed to living in fear,” Hargrove said. “It seems that way when there are people who say that they’re not going to listen to anybody who says their pronouns or they’re going to act out against any trans people they meet, ever.”
Story by Christina Beals