CHICAGO (CBS) – A vigil was held at the Thompson Center Plaza over the weekend to mourn and remember transgender people across the world who have been the victims of murders driven by prejudice.
The candlelight vigil for International Transgender Day of Remembrance was held Saturday evening. At the event, co-organizer Christina Kahrl said 14 people have been killed in the United States over the past year because of their gender identity – whether real or perceived, according to Gay Chicago Magazine.
The names of the victims were read, as the estimated 100 participants stood in a circle, the magazine reported.
Among the victims was Sandy Woulard, 28, who was found shot to death on June 21 near a church in the 7500 block of South Halsted Street.
Woulard was a transgender woman whose birth name was Credale Woulard. Edge Chicago reported that media descriptions of her as “a man dressed in women’s clothing” were inaccurate, and only fanned the flames of stereotypes about transgender people.
Also slain this year was Dana “Chanel” Larkin, 26, who was shot and killed in Milwaukee on May 7, Gay Chicago Magazine reported.
At the Saturday vigil, the magazine reported, Indiana transgender activist Marti Abernathy told the crowd that the 14 people being remembered this year are unique individuals “just like you,” and were all “more than transgender. Each person on this list was a loved one, a loved one who will never return home.”
The Transgender Day of Remembrance was first held to honor Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was killed in San Francisco on Nov. 28, 1998. While not everyone named during the Day of Remembrance identified as transgender, all of them were victims of violence based on a prejudice directed at transgender people, according to the website for the event.