Union holds Transgender Day of Remembrance vigil

271 trans people have been murdered in the past year

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Around 60 members of staff, students, and people from the wider Leeds community gathered outside the Union on Friday night to commemorate Transgender Day of Remembrance.

A speech was given by Gem Turner, the union’s Equality and Diversity officer, and names of unlawfully killed trans people read out by the crowd whilst lanterns were lit to honour those who lost their lives to anti-transgender violence.

A two minute silence was held before the floor was opened to members of the public.

This event holds even more significance this week in light of the suicide of trans woman Vicky Thompson, who took her life at Armley Prison in Leeds last Friday.

Vicky had been held in an all-male prison despite her requests to be transferred to a nearby women’s prison.

A one minute silence was held specifically in memory of Vicky and those attending were encouraged to join any protests or vigils related to her death.

The vigil was a touching ceremony which paid tribute to an area of the LGBT+ community which often experiences the most violence and oppression.

There was set to be a panel discussion after the vigil with the question “Are we doing enough to help trans people?”

This was cancelled due to participants dropping out due to the lack of people of colour on the panel.

Two thirds of LGBT hate crimes are experienced by trans women of colour, and participants argued it is a vital issue often not addressed in LGBT+ spaces.