Just hours after most of the country was learning about the five people murdered and the twenty-five people harmed at an LGBTQ club in Colorado Springs, around the world transgender people and allies were participating in The Transgender Day of Remembrance.
TDOR is an international event held every year on November 20 to memorialize those who have been killed throughout the year due to anti-transgender violence. In Asbury Park, the event was sponsored by The Transgender Alliance of New Jersey, Garden State Equality, and the LGBTQ+ community and held at Blackbird Community Commons on Atkins Avenue. This year’s vigil had a visible police presence.
Hosted by local transgender woman Geena Buono, our local vigil included reading names of those murdered. This year the list was over 300 people throughout the world. Readers and those in attendance were visibly upset by the sheer number of people that had their lives taken from them for, as Geena put it, “just being themselves.”
Ms. Buono blames the current political climate. She expressed, “I’m tired of being used as a lightning rod in politics, you know, on both sides, for that matter, to gain a base. I don’t think politicians understand how much they expose us to danger when they use us in their conversations. And, when they use us in their ridicule, and how they try to excite their base. And, how that’s created so much more anger and hatred towards people that never met us before. They don’t understand how beautiful we are and how many good people are in this room right now. It’s not fair that we have to go through this.”
Allies, as well as local musicians, Desiree Spinks, Arlan Fieles, and Gillian Buono performed.
Founder Gwendolyn Ann Smith was quoted, “I am no stranger to the need to fight for our rights, and the right to simply exist is first and foremost. With so many seeking to erase transgender people — sometimes in the most brutal ways possible — it is vitally important that those we lose are remembered, and that we continue to fight for justice.”