2009 Annual Transgender Day of Remembrance Candlelight Vigil

2009 Annual Transgender Day of Remembrance Candlelight Vigil Saturday, November 21, 2009, 6:30 pm

Trinity Episcopal Cathedral

2620 Capitol Avenue, Sacramento, CA 95816


The Commemorative DVD of this event is now available. A minimum donation of $10 is suggested to help toward our future memorial events. Please reserve your copy through our contact page.

The Transgender Day of Remembrance memorializes those killed due to their actual or perceived gender identity and expression The first memorial was a candlelight vigil held in Boston in November 1999 to honor Rita Hester, murdered in 1998. Since then, annual memorials have been observed around the world around November 20. Since 2005, our support group has held an Annual Candlelight Vigil in Sacramento in observance of the International Transgender Day of

Rev. Dr. Rosario Vargas

Minister, Metropolitan Community Church

Mila Pavlin

Operations Manager, Transgender Law Center

Author and Associate Professor of Social Work, CSU Sacramento

Dr. David Nylund

Remembrance on the third Saturday of each November. All are welcome.Our speakers:

Introduction to Candlelight Vigil in observance of

the 11th Annual

Transgender Day of Remembrance

Welcome to all members of our community, family, friends and allies to our fifth candlelight vigil in observance of the Annual Transgender Day of Remembrance. We express our appreciation for the generosity of Trinity Episcopal Cathedral and the gracious assistance of the Very Rev. Dean Brian Baker and Rev. Canon Kathleen Kelly in the use of this sacred space and the hall for our reception; for the collaboration of Ben and Rachael Hudson of the Sacramento Transgender Coalition for organizing the slide show, memorial altar, list of names and their readers; for our musicians James Clark, Spencer Hardy and Tyx Pulskamp; for our ushers and those who are preparing our reception to follow; and for our videographer Karen Savage who will prepare a video archive of this event. Above all we thank all of you here for standing together with us in this memorial. Among those here we welcome Pam Whiteley, Northern California Regional Director of PFLAG, members and others representing community organizations and congregations.

Tonight we gather to remember the lives of our many brothers and sisters who have fallen to hatred and intolerance toward their actual or perceived gender identity and expression.

The first Transgender Day of Remembrance was a candlelight vigil held in San Francisco in November 1999 to honor Rita Hester, a transsexual woman who was stabbed to death by an unknown killer in her home in Boston in 1998. Every year since then, Day of Remembrance events around the world have been held in memory of our dead.My most difficult and saddening task in preparation for these memorials is updating this board that lists the names of the transgender dead we know since 1970. We are encouraged with the increasing positive representation of transgenders in media documentaries and news programs, with the increasing public awareness of the problem of violence against transgenders and gender variant people that have led to the passage of legislation such as the Gwen Araujo Justice for Victims Act and the Federal Hate Crimes Bill. In the last two years I had been encouraged to see fewer names added to this list: just 21 in 2007, and 29 in 2008. But I was astounded to find that we have added 119 people this year.

There has been much discussion in the community about this increase. We don’t understand its reason—perhaps improved recognition and reporting of these crimes. I suspect it may also be a reflection of an increasingly violent world culture. In any case, we stand here tonight in solidarity against this violence

We hold a special place in our heart for Ruby Molina whose portrait is here before us. Ruby chose to engage and live her real life as she knew how braving the scorn and ridicule she suffered from those who would not understand her. Finally at the hands of such as these she paid the ultimate price of her life.

Today we bring our love for Ruby and our other fallen brothers and sisters, to keep their memories alive in our hearts, to take courage from their example, and to never let die our struggle and the light of our hope for a safe and welcoming world for us all.

In September, 2008, the tragic death of Ruby Molina shook our Sacramento community. This event paid special respect to her memory among our many brothers and sisters who have fallen to ignorance and intolerance. Please contact the Sacramento Police Department if you have any information that may help the investigation into Ruby's death.