Sheriff Lupe Valdez

Sheriff Lupe Valdez

The names of this year’s 120 transgender murder victims were read at a ceremony at Southern Methodist University on Friday to commemorate Transgender Day of Remembrance. Sheriff Lupe Valdez was the keynote speaker.

Because of rain, the ceremony was moved indoors. About 100 people filled the main hall of Hughes Trigg Student Center.

Maeve O’Connor and Mo Snow read the names of each of the murder victims,  followed by the method of murder and city where the hate crime took place. The identity of many of transgender murder victims is unknown. In those cases, the crime was read as “Victim’s name unknown.” After each name, Latisha McDaniel and Lilith Calbridge rang a bell in commemoration.

Valdez spoke following the reading of the names. She put aside her notes and said that as the list of names was read, it “got sadder and sadder and she couldn’t begin with a joke.”

“It’s about people being who they need to be,” Valdez said. “We are not second-class citizens.”

MosaicSong sang during the ceremony. For their final song, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” words were provided in the program for everyone to join in. A quick survey of the room showed none of the gay men using their programs.

The event was sponsored by Texas Instruments, GEAR, Equality March Texas, Resource Center Dallas, Out & Equal, the Human Rights Campaign, the LGBTA Group of the First Unitarian Church of Dallas, and SMU Women’s Center for Gender and Pride Initiatives.

Beau Heyen, Maeve O'Connor, Marla Compton at SMU observance

Beau Heyen, Maeve O’Connor, Marla Compton at SMU observance

— David Taffet

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