A small group gathered on Wednesday night at Gyro Park to recognize Transgender Day of Remembrance. (Robin Grant - Western News)

Community gathers for inaugural Transgender Day of Remembrance vigil in Penticton

Transgender Day memorializes those who have been murdered

A small group gathered under the flags in Gyro Park on Wednesday night to mark the inaugural Transgender Day of Remembrance vigil in Penticton.

READ MORE: B.C. politicians view supermodel’s transition journey on Transgender Day

The event memorializes those who have been murdered as a result of transphobia, said Lee Abbel, board of directors of South Okanagan-Similkameen (SOS) PRIDE.

“It is not only about community unity, but also to bring to the forefront an awareness of the difficulties, pain and adversity that trans in our community deal with every single day,” he said.

“Within the confines of our small community, we have a vibrant trans community that isn’t visible and all they do get is a lot of pain and suffering and not a whole lot of acceptance.”

Melisa Edgerly, also a board member with SOS PRIDE, said it is important to remember those who have been murdered and killed because democratic countries such as Canada have to do more to stop the violence and discrimination.

According to a study by UBC and Egale Canada, 70 per cent of trans youth in Canada have experienced discrimination because of their gender identity and one in three younger participants had been physically threatened or injured in the past year. Seventy percent also report experiencing sexual harassment.

READ MORE: PHOTOS: Trangender flag raised for first time ever outside of B.C. Legislature

The aim of Transgender Day of Remembrance is to raise awareness with the hope of ending the violence against the trans community, Abbel added.

“Canada is a bastion in a lot of ways. But we’ve got a long way to go,” he said, pointing to Bill 207, a private member’s bill before the Alberta legislature that, if passed, would mean a health-care provider couldn’t be sued or sanctioned for refusing to provide a service that goes against their moral beliefs. Critics of the bill have said it could legalize discrimination against transgender people.

“A trans person who has been beaten or hurt could be rejected by the medical community,” Abbel added. “That cannot stand. We’re in Canada. If you are a medical professional, you have to fulfill your Hippocratic Oath.”

For Kyler Sahlmarc, Transgender Day of Remembrance is also the chance to celebrate who you are.

“It’s about being courageous enough to be yourself and showing the full authenticity of your full self, and the world is just starting to wake up to that.”

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

EDITORIAL: Managing wildfires

Wildfires have the potential to cause significant damage within our province

Okanagan, Creston cherry and apple farms in need of workers

The worker shortage is due to the COVID-19 restrictions on international travel

‘It’s just my job’: Off-duty Peachland paramedic saves choking girl downtown Penticton

Family vacationing in Penticton assisted by off-duty paramedic, who helps save 13-year-old

Opening night lineup for online Roots & Blues festival released

The first night of the festival on Aug. 14 will be stacked with favourites from previous years

Evacuation alert for homes near Dry Lake fire rescinded

Fire status changed to Under Control, crews remain on site patrolling and extinguishing hot spots

53 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths cap off week of high infection rates in B.C.

Roughly 1,500 people are self-isolating because they either have COVID-19 or have been exposed to it

Tech mogul growing North Okanagan’s wine industry

The founder of online dating site Plenty of Fish is developing 900 acres in Vernon

Fentanyl-laced powder being sold as cocaine in Kamloops

Interior Health has released a warning about very strong fentanyl in Kamloops

Unofficial holidays: the weird and wonderful things people celebrate around the world

On any given day of the year, there are several strange, silly or serious holidays to observe

North Okanagan ranch needs support to stay afloat

Founded in 1867, a fundraiser has been launched for the Historic O’Keefe Ranch

Video: Enraged man terrifies staff and customers at Shuswap restaurant

Video on Facebook shows the man hurling profanity at workers during the dinner rush on Aug. 7.

Moving on: Tanev scores 11 seconds into OT as Canucks oust Wild

Vancouver beats Minnesota 5-4 to move into first round of NHL playoffs

Number of Kelowna-linked COVID-19 cases grows to 159

Interior Health reported four new cases region-wide on Friday, 18 remain active

Gene editing debate takes root with organic broccoli, new UBC research shows

Broccoli is one of the best-known vegetables with origins in this scientific haze

Most Read