On Wednesday, Nov. 20, the Brooklyn College LGBTQ Resource Center hosted their annual march and vigil for the Transgender Day of Remembrance at the Lily Pond.
The night started at SUBO, where the club began the march towards the pond with a trans flag displayed at the front of the group.
The vigil began with a reading of over 180 names, ages, and residences of victims of transphobic violence around the world. Members of the center took turns reading a list of names divided first by country and then alphabetically, and candles were lit for each name. Two large candles were lit for Brazil, which lost 164 individuals to transphobic violence. Mexico also had two large candles lit for the 68 individuals who lost their lives for the same reason.
Unfortunately, the names of the 164 victims in Brazil and 68 victims in Mexico could not possibly be read due to time constraints, but they were of course honored and commemorated by the students of Brooklyn College.
“This vigil is a reminder that there are a lot of trans people that are being victimized for no reason, for just being who they are,” said Sebastien deJean, an employee at the LGBTQ Resource Center. “This campus preaches tolerance and I want people to pretty much understand that trans people have rights.”
“They have the right to be freely happy, and they have the freedom to be whoever they want to be and they don’t need to suffer these consequences,” deJean added, “It’s very sad with all these names. It sometimes feels like it’s progress, but at the same time when you look deeper the same problems exist.”
The march back from the vigil was silent, with the transgender flag at the front of the group again. Each candle remained lit as the group headed back to the LGBTQ resource center, so they could be displayed in the window along with the flag. This represented the acknowledgement of each victim of transphobia, and that equality is still being fought, according to the members of the resource center.
A counselor was available for members of the group who felt they needed to talk to someone.