DAVID TAFFET | Staff Writer
A capacity crowd filled the Interfaith Peace Chapel at Cathedral of Hope to mark Transgender Day of Remembrance on Sunday night, Nov. 21.
Nell Gaither, a steering committee member for GEAR, served as MC. She noted the recent spate of suicides among gay youth. GEAR is the transgender program of Resource Center Dallas.
Among transgender adults, 40 percent have attempted suicide, a rate 25 times higher than among the rest of the community, she said.
She said 20 percent of transgender people had been refused healthcare treatment and even more experience harassment in a medical setting.
Among transgender people of color, 35 percent live below the poverty level.
A portion of the memorial was dedicated to Alexander Allison, a local trans man who committed suicide this year.
Among the speakers were Resource Center Dallas Executive Director Cece Cox.
Cox thanked the transgender community for answering her many questions so she can be a better ally. She also commented on the growing visibility of the transgender community.
“When someone tries to make me feel invisible, it makes me feel ‘less than’ and that doesn’t feel good,” she said.
“But there is reason for hope,” he said.
He listed recent gains the transgender community has made, including the election of the first transgender judge in California and Houston Mayor Annise Parker’s appointment last week of Phyllis Frye as a municipal court judge. He lauded Dallas Independent School District’s new enumerated anti-bullying policy that includes gender identity and expression.
As Aaron Barnes and Dorian Mooneyham read the names of 30 transgender victims of violence, members of the community lit candles and laid red roses on a table. Two of those victims were from Houston.
Mo Snow gave closing remarks. “I don’t want to be the reason my partner is discriminated against,” he said, calling her the most loving person he’d ever met.
For the third year, the Women’s Chorus of Dallas ensemble MosaicSong opened and performed during the ceremony. Voice of Pride winners Mel Arizpe and Laura Carrizales also performed.