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News about the LGBTQ+ community in the Charlotte area and beyond.

Transgender advocates hold 'Day of Remembrance' in Charlotte

A person speaking at a microphone
Swikar Patel
Transcend Charlotte
Rell Lowery speaks at Transcend Charlotte's "Transgender Day of Remembrance" ceremony on Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022.

Transgender residents and their allies gathered in Charlotte on Sunday to honor the memory of transgender people killed in acts of anti-transgender violence.

The event at the Carolinas CARE Partnership offices in east Charlotte coincided with ceremonies taking place in other communities around the world as part of the "Transgender Day of Remembrance."

This year it came a day after a gunman opened fire inside a gay nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colorado, killing five people and injuring more than two dozen.

In Charlotte, speakers read the names of transgender people whose lives were taken in 2022. Attendees were invited to share music, spoken word or other personal expressions.

Among the 32 known killingsrecorded by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) this year was one in North Carolina: Sasha Mason, a 45-year-old transgender Latina killed in Zebulon on May 13.

Event organizers also remembered the lives of Jaida Peterson and Remy Fennell, two Black transgender women killed in separate hotel room shootings in Charlotte in April 2021.

"On these particular days, it's so important to come together as a queer family and stand in the gap with and for trans folks, because we exist in a world that disregards our very existence, and so these types of awareness days are needed," said Bethany Corrigan, executive director of Transcend Charlotte and LGBTQ program director for Carolinas CARE partnership.

Corrigan said transgender residents in Charlotte have reasons for hope. The Charlotte City Council expanded protections for transgender people in public spaces in August 2021, and the Mecklenburg County Commissionfollowed suitwith similar protections in October 2021.

However, Republicans in the North Carolina Senate also introduced a bill in April 2021 that would have banned doctors from performing gender-affirming surgeries on minors or providing minors with puberty-blockers.

That bill, titled the "Youth Protection Act" did not make it out of a Senate committee. The bill also would have required teachers to notify parents in writing if a student identified themselves as transgender, and would have banned state funds from being used for gender transition procedures.

Corrigan said they hoped more rights and protections for transgender people would be codified in the coming year, and that the transgender community would be met with more empathy.

"I think a way to get there is for folks to pursue empathetic and introspective self-education," they said. "That's always a hope that I have."

Sunday's event was organized by Transcend Charlotte and Carolinas CARE Partnership in coordination with Time Out Youth, PFLAG Charlotte, the Freedom Center for Social Justice, Charlotte Trans Health, Charlotte Pride and Charlotte Black Pride.

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Nick de la Canal is the host of Weekend Edition on Saturday/Sunday mornings, and a reporter covering breaking news, arts and culture, and general assignment stories. His work frequently appears on air and online. Periodically, he tweets: @nickdelacanal