Transgender people who’ve died are being remembered across the world – including here in Wood Buffalo.
Today is ‘Transgender Day of Remembrance’ where people are recognizing those who were killed or took their own lives for being themselves.
This has been an annual tradition since the first vigil was held in San Francisco in 1999 to honour Rita Hester, a trans woman who was murdered the previous year.
Pride YMM Committee Member Cindy Hann, who’s also a trans woman, tells Mix News this day also acknowledges the hardships they unfortunately go through.
She says there are many cases of abuse here in Fort McMurray.
“I was walking to the car one day and I got jumped by three people, don’t know them, don’t know why – that’s why we do Transgender Day of Remembrance, to remember the individuals that were especially murdered in some cases, luckily in Canada I think there was only one in 2017, but one is too many.”
Hann notes many have dealt with mental health issues, suicide becoming a popular choice.
She adds, along with actual abuse, lack of education from people can be just as damaging.
“They think you want to switch genders, that’s what you’re doing when that’s not the case at all. There’s a lot of work, a lot of mental time, and strength that goes into it and support – it’s a very, very, very difficult process.”
She does believe Fort McMurray has come along way in accepting the LGBTQ community, however, there’s still a lot of work to do before they feel truly equal.
Pride YMM weren’t able to plan a vigil for today but have plans to hold one on this day next year.