Transgender community, allies join for 'Day of Remembrance'

Transgender community remembers lives lost

BANGOR, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — Members of the transgender community and their allies joined together Sunday for events across the state and country to honor lives lost due to discrimination.

It was part of a national "Transgender Day of Remembrance."

One of those groups gathered at UMA in Bangor, where they held a vigil and shared personal stories.

The events came just weeks after Charles Knowles took his own life at the Long Creek Youth Development Center in South Portland.

"In Maine, it's a little less common to experience that, so when it happens here, it's pretty devastating because we're a very small community in Maine and we all tend to be pretty close to each other,” Danielle Vanhelsing said.

In the wake of the election, the trans community is one of the several minorities who say they are fearful of what a change in leadership may mean for their rights.

This as targeted violence against those who identify as LGBT is continuing to rise across the globe.

Secretary of State John Kerry releasing a statement Sunday, saying, in part:

"Transgender persons deepen our diversity, broaden our communities, and strengthen the values we cherish. When all persons reach their full human potential, free from fear, intimidation, and violence, nations become more just, secure and prosperous."

Fortunately, organizers said the support services in Maine and the state's Human Rights Act provide crucial support.

Organizers hope the events raises awareness and puts an end to the senseless violence facing the LGBT community.

“That's why we do this," Vanhelsing said, "so people can see they're not alone and they have support within the community."

Copyright 2016 WLBZ


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