Windsor shows support as dozens gather for first-ever Transgender Day of Remembrance
Music, poetry and a candlelight vigil marked the international day of recognition
Staring out at the crowd gathered for Windsor's first-ever Transgender Day of Remembrance, Jasper Finch was struck by the show of support he never knew existed in the city.
Dozens gathered at Emmanuel United Church Monday, where music, poetry and a candlelight vigil marked the international day of recognition for those who died in the past year of violence against transgender people.
Although the day was difficult, Finch, who read out some of the names of those who were killed, said the signs of support were encouraging.
"Standing up there today and looking at all the people here who care that are here to support and to offer love to these people who often don't get it was really impactful," explained the 17-year-old.
Now reading names during Windsor’s <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TransDayOfRememberance?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TransDayOfRememberance</a> - a candle is extinguished for every person who died of acts of violence against trans people in the past year. <a href="https://t.co/RuYfe4Y0lE">pic.twitter.com/RuYfe4Y0lE</a>—@CBCWindsor
"Transgender lives are often an issue that go unrecognized so having this event, especially in a city like Windsor where you wouldn't expect it, means its coming out in the smaller places where you often don't find these gatherings of these people," Finch added.
W.E. Trans Support executive and event organizer Jayce Carver was also excited by the turnout and the historical occasion for the city, but said what happens next is just as important.
"We need the support of each other," she said. "This event for us is a place of warming and healing, but also an opportunity to discuss solutions moving forward."
Finch said while most people in Canada are accustomed to interacting with gay people at this point, the transgender community still faces a lot of stigma, meaning occasions such as the day of remembrance are doubly important.
"Once they realize trans people are out there and they want to be heard then they'll start to listen," he explained.
His mother Wendy Avery said she gets emotional thinking about what transgender kids go through without the support of family in friends.
"I think it's important to realize we're lucky and not everyone is lucky," she said, standing side-by-side with Jasper.
Carver said she left the ceremony energized to continue serving and supporting Windsor's transgender community.
"It has to have a purpose, not just to stop here, to stop in mourning, but to gain momentum to move forward to change outcomes for trans individuals."