UT mourns lives lost to transphobic violence

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville remembers those who lost their lives due to transphobic violence with a candlelit vigil.

UT hosted a vigil to mourn the lives lost to transphobic violence on Nov. 19. The vigil took place at 6 p.m. in the Humanities Amphitheater. The candlelit ceremony included the reading of the names of the 300 individuals that lost their lives due to transphobic violence this year.

A guest speaker spoke about transphobic violence and the effects that it had on the community.

“Transgender remembrance publicly mourns and honors the lives of the trans community who might otherwise be forgotten,” Ciara Gazaway, a graduate assistant in the Pride Center, said.

A moment of silence followed the reading of the 300 names of those who lost their lives. Although the names were read, some of them were named as “unknown.”

“Some names we don’t even know because their true names were lost after their death,” Gazaway said.

This vigil also included a speaker who is a member of the transgender community. He spoke about his experience as a transgender and the hardships that he faced. This event highlighted the seriousness of this issue with shocking statistics.

“Over the last decade more than one person per month has died due to transgender hatred,” Gazaway said.

UT is beginning to spread awareness and shed light on these issues.

“We are in a really cool time where the university is trying to make a lot of big change specifically with the trans community. We’ve now got all-gender restrooms on campus,” Gazaway said. “Making strides and small steps are still steps, although we aren’t the best [the university] we are in a nice little season of change and progression.”

The Pride Center encourages individuals to educate and ally with each other.

“We need to help this community because Trans people are fighting for their lives every day,” Gazaway said.

The Pride Center Organized this event. The Pride Center has annual events, discussion groups, mentoring programs and safe zone training. If someone is in crisis or needs help they can reach out to the trans life hotline at (877)565-8860. You can donate to the following organizations to support the trans community: The Trans Project, Trans Life Line, Knoxville Transgender Group, Tennessee Equality Project or Planned Parenthood in Knoxville.

Edited by Libby Dayhuff and Maddie Torres

Featured image courtesy of Cristina Masciarelli