Metro Weekly

Congressional staffers to recognize Transgender Day of Remembrance

Staffers will read aloud names of victims and hold a moment of silence for those killed due to anti-LGBTQ prejudice

Credit: Ted Eytan / Flickr

Some of the people who work behind the scenes on Capitol Hill will hold an observance of the Transgender Day of Remembrance outside the House entrance to the Capitol on Monday, Nov. 20. 

The LGBT Congressional Staff Association, the non-partisan organization representing LGBTQ employees who work for members of the U.S. House of Representatives, will be hosting the ceremony along with GLASS, the LGBTQ staff association for the U.S. Senate, and LC-GLOBE, the official organization for LGBTQ employees and allies who work at the Library of Congress.

As part of the observance, organizers plan to read aloud the names of those transgender people who lost their lives in 2017 due to anti-LGBTQ violence, much of it motivated by anti-LGBTQ prejudice or hatred. So far, an estimated 25 transgender people in the United States have been killed this year, nearly on par with the 27 who were killed last year. The majority of the victims have been transgender women of color.

All congressional staffers, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, are welcome to attend.

Kory Masen, of the National Center for Transgender Equality, will speak at the observance, which begins promptly at 1 p.m. Bishop Allyson Abrams, the founder and current pastor of Empowerment Liberation Cathedral, will lead those assembled in a moment of silence for the victims.

The observance is the first of its kind hosted by the LGBT CSA and GLASS. Sources familiar with the planning of the event noted that it was prompted by a desire to support members of the transgender community in light of increased attacks against them — both physically and through the political process.

The LGBT CSA has more than 100 active, dues-paying members and continues to maintain ties to a long list of alumni who have left the Hill but continue to work in D.C. Of the hundreds of Hill staffers who identify as LGBTQ, only one identifies as transgender.

“The LGBT CSA is proud to stand with the transgender community on and off Capitol Hill to observe a moment of silence in remembrance of those we’ve lost this past year,” Todd Sloves, the president of the LGBT CSA. “On Transgender Day of Remembrance, we want to demonstrate that there is strong support for the transgender community at the center of our nation’s capital, where the decisions that influence the direction of our nation are made.

“We can never forget that members of our community continue to be targeted for who they are. Today and every day we stand up to say they will not be forgotten and discriminatory and violent behavior against the most vulnerable within our community will not be accepted,” he added. “We look forward to making this an annual tradition until there are no names to read.”

The congressional staffer observance of the Transgender Day of Remembrance will be held on Monday, Nov. 20 at 1 p.m. on the grass in front of the House steps of the U.S. Capitol, located at East Capitol Street NE and First Street SE. For more information on the LGBT CSA, visit lgbtcsa.org.

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