COLUMN: Strong show of support at Transgender vigil

Thoughts on Prince Rupert’s first time recognizing the Transgender Day of Remembrance

When hosting an event in Prince Rupert you’re never really sure how many people will come.

Often, it depends on the weather and how many other events are going on the same day.

For the Transgender Day of Remembrance, Ashley Wilson organized the first ever vigil to be held in Prince Rupert and she didn’t know what to expect.

On Nov. 20, the night of the vigil, there was a steady rain under the dark of night. Ashley was going to read the names of all the transgender people across the world who were killed, and how they were murdered. A heavy subject that demands quiet attention and compassion. Who would be there?

But when I headed over to city hall where a few people under umbrellas were gathered, I was directed to a warm welcoming Javadotcup where the vigil had been relocated due to the rain.

I was pleasantly surprised by the turnout, about a dozen and a half people had already gathered there in a semi-circle. As the minutes passed more and more people walked through the doors. A curve of a smile spread over my heart.

Candles were handed out to participants of all ages. There was a beautiful message from MLA Jennifer Rice read by her legislative assistant Joey Jack, and acting mayor Barry Cunningham shared a few words. Leaders in the Pride community, Christine Danroth, Russel Adams and ally Blair Mirau, joined Ashley Wilson in reading out the list of names — 310, up from 286 in the previous year.

Silence but for their voices. The horrific death each person experienced was difficult to bear, but necessary to hear.

City council wouldn’t raise a flag for the Transgender Day of Remembrance but approximately 30 people were there that night to stand under the flag in solidarity.

In the weeks, months and years to come, I hope this city continues to follow this path of diversity, inclusion — a true city of rainbows.

READ MORE: A vigil for Transgender Day of Remembrance in Prince Rupert

 

shannon.lough@thenorthernview.com 

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