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Light up, light up; as if you have a choice

Posted: November 30th, 2013 | Columns, Featured, North County Update | No Comments

Marc Lim | North County Update

On Nov. 20, the North County LGBTQ Resource Center held its fifth annual Transgender Day of Remembrance to commemorate transgender individuals who were brutally murdered within the past year.North County SD Transgender Day of Remember 2013

Fifty chairs were set up facing one corner of the Center’s adjacent parking lot.

The one hundred-strong crowd that actually showed up spoke volumes about the growing public awareness and was a touching display of community support, proclaiming that the lives were not forsaken or lost in vain.

To honor the victims, 71 tea-light candles were lit individually—one for each life lost—as volunteers came up to read out each name. Collectively, the arrangement of these candles spelled out a single word: “Remember.”

The flame was then passed on to audience members, each holding a long candlestick, to signify the hope that has to burn bright among all of us still living: a hope that the day will come when transgender persons can walk the streets without fearing for their safety and there will no longer be a need to hold yet another Transgender Day of Remembrance.

As the flames of hope were lit among the audience, three musicians began to play:

Light up, light up
As if you have a choice
Even if you cannot hear our voice
Stand beside us, do not fear.

Louder, louder
Make something of our lives
When we reach our peak, you’ll understand
And you will raise your voice to say …

—modified lyrics of “Run” by Snow Patrol

Unfortunately, the suicide rate among transgender individuals has remained steady over the past 15 years, hovering around 40 percent.

To help transgender individuals cope with the struggles encountered along their journey, the NC-LGBTQ-RC holds a transgender support group called “Come as You Are” every Monday night. This group is just as important as our efforts to honor fallen murder victims.

North County SD Transgender Day of Remember 2013Since its start in 2011, over sixty people have come to participate in the group, and life-saving, close friendships have developed over time among several members.

As tangible, loving and supportive communities build among transgender folks and our allies alike, the ideal future where zero suicides exist and zero hate crimes are perpetrated seems much closer than ever before.

—Marc Lim is the group facilitator for the “Come As you Are” a Transgender support group of the NC LGBTQ Resource Center. For more information, visit ncresourcecenter.org.

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