Vigil for Transgender Victims of Violence Coming to Mississauga

Although the transgender rights movement has been at the forefront of talks about LGBTQ issues for sometime now, transgender residents are too often violently victimized—something an upcoming vigil is hoping to address.

Studio 89, a community hub that often hosts events centered around social justice and empowerment, is hosting its first ever Transgender Day of Remembrance event tonight at 6:45 p.m.

"We have hosted different LGBTQ2 events, but this will be our first day hosting Transgender Day of Remembrance," says event organizer Johnathan Suntay.

The need for the vigil, which will honour and remember transgender victims of violence, is pronounced.

According to the Canadian Centre for policy Alternatives (CCPA), 45 per cent of trans people have attempted suicide in Ontario and 77 have seriously considered it. The report goes on to list even more troubling numbers, adding that there were at least 2,115 reported killings of trans and gender diverse people in 65 countries worldwide between January 1 2008 and April 30 2016 (Transgender Europe 2016: n.p.).

The report goes on to add that, as of 2013, 71 killings of trans people have been reported in North America, two of which were reported in Canada and 69 of which were reported in the United States (Ibid. 2013: n.p.).

Transgender people also, according to the CCPA, suffer disproportionately from economic and social hardship. According to the report, 50 per cent of trans people in Ontario live off less than $15,000 a year. Women's shelters across Canada can also legally deny trans women help unless they can prove they've had genital surgery.

"At 6:45 the guests will arrive and once everyone arrives, we'll give a brief introduction and then we'll have a 15-20 minute reflection where we can share thoughts and think of those who have experienced [violence]," says Suntay.

During the vigil, there will be a lighting of candles to honour the lives of those who were injured or killed. Guest speakers, including creative writer Sumair Sattar, will share their stories of empowerment and what it means to be Trans.

"The event is open to anyone," says Suntay. "We want it to be a friendly and safe space, especially for transwomen and transpeople of colour and those with disabilities."

For more information, click here.

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