Marking Transgender Day of Remembrance

Locals prepare traditional memorial event, along with transgender health discussion

Local LGBT activists are readying their annual observance of the International Transgender Day of Remembrance. Sharing the same mission of mourning and education as other groups around the world, members of D.C.’s community will gather Tuesday, Nov. 20, Metropolitan Community Church of Washington, at 474 Ridge St. NW, at 6 p.m.

The memorial service, dedicated to transgender individuals who have been killed or injured, is intended to serve as a call to action for others to speak out against anti-transgender bigotry. The event is open to the public.

Among those likely to be remembered will be Deoni Jones, a transgender woman who died after being stabbed by a man while she waited at a D.C. bus stop. The suspect in the February attack, Gary Niles Montgomery, has pleaded not guilty to a charge of first-degree premeditated murder and is awaiting trial.

In combination with the Day of Remembrance, local activists have typically held a Day of Action, protesting for better protections for transgender people. In 2011, several LGBT activists and allies demonstrated in front of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Metropolitan Police Department headquarters in response to a spike in anti-transgender bias crimes.

This year won’t see a local demonstration, though. Instead, the D.C. Trans Coalition (DCTC) is partnering with the local service providers Transgender Health Empowerment, Casa Ruby DC, and Whitman-Walker Health, to host a ”Community Conversation” on improving transgender health. The forum will be held Thursday, Nov. 15, also at the D.C. Metropolitan Community Church, at 7 p.m.

”Each year this event proves to be better and better, and more empowering for the community,” said transgender activist and Day of Remembrance planning group member Earline Budd in a statement referring to this year’s plans.

Christopher Dyer, who is working on the panel for Whitman-Walker Health and who will be moderating it, said he expects the event to raise issues related to the local Latino trans community, HIV and culturally sensitive health care services. He emphasized that the discussion’s direction will largely depend on audience participation.

For more information about either event, call 202-290-7077.

John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com

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