Manitoba marks Transgender Day of Remembrance by once again raising the transgender flag in Winnipeg’s Memorial Park on Monday.
Vigils have been held annually around the world on November 20 for more than two decades, both to commemorate those k**led because of transphobia and to raise awareness of the disproportionate violence committed against members of the trans community.
The province first raised the flag in recognition of the day eight years ago, with this year being particularly poignant as the flag was raised by MP Logan Oxenham (Kirkfield Park), the first openly trans man elected to office. Legislative Assembly of Manitoba.
In a statement Monday, Manitoba Families Minister Nahanni Fontaine and Health Minister Uzoma Asagwara said the annual celebration is a way for the province to reaffirm its support for the local trans community.
“Today is a day for the community and for the community,” Asagwara said.
“We want the community to know that our government supports and supports the vital work being done by so many trans, two-spirit and gender diverse Manitobans who are working tirelessly to make things better for the next generation.
“Each of us must demand better than fear and ignorance and the damage they cause to some of our most vulnerable communities. »
Anastasia Gibson, a transgender rights advocate from Brandon, told Global Winnipeg that the day is a way to draw attention to the ongoing violence directed against transgender people – something that, unfortunately, appears to show no signs of stopping. slow-down.
“It’s so important to be able to recognize and look back on this day,” Gibson said. “(Transgender Day of Remembrance) has been celebrated every year since 1999, and it’s actually about commemorating those who have been murdered because of transphobia.”
Gibson said a typical memorial service might include a candlelight vigil, speakers and the reading of names.
“This is a reading of the names of people who died between October 1 of the previous year and September 30 of the current year, and unfortunately this list is not shrinking, it tends to grow .”
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Wendy Friesen, another activist, said recent increases in anti-trans vitriol mean it is critical to gain community support for transgender people.
“In this day and age, it is more important than ever for trans people to be supported by their communities, because with this recent rise of anti-trans movements in the United States and Canada, the level of discrimination and violence in our country opposition has also increased. .
“It’s very, very important that our communities are able to support us, give us the peace of mind that we need and also keep us safe. …It could very well save our lives.
Friesen and Gibson said that while there are still challenges connecting to resources, internet connectivity makes it much easier for community members to find the information they need in the Westman area, and there are abundant internal support in Brandon.
“The great thing about Brandon is that it’s a close-knit community,” Gibson said. “We have received so much support recently from the transgender community, gender diversity and the queer community.
“That being said, absolutely, there has been a lot of vitriol.”
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