Heavy rains did nothing to dampen the determination of those who came to remember the victims of transgender violence on Sunday afternoon.
West Hollywood’s annual , part of a worldwide observation, went on despite the wet weather. Although the planned parade was scrapped, the observance moved to 's Great Hall where almost 250 people attended.
The 90-minute event featured speakers, entertainment and a reading of names of people who have been killed due to “transphobia.”
The day was especially somber due to the on Thursday night of a transgendered woman, Cassidy Vickers. Mayor Pro Tempore Jeff Prang called the murder “absolutely intolerable” and vowed, “We are not going to rest until we get this guy.”
Coco LaChine, chair of the city’s Transgender Advisory Board, which hosted the event, called for people to demand justice.
“Discrimination, hate and violence comes in many forms,” said LaChine. “Whether it’s verbal, physical or psychological, violence is violence and we need to get angry about it.”
Councilman John Heilman noted how much things have evolved in the past two decades.
“Twenty years ago, these kind of crimes largely went unnoticed," Heilman said. "No one cared. No one came out to protest. No one demanded rights. There’s been a dramatic change in the last 20 years. The kind of violence and brutalization that just went unnoticed and uncared for 20 years ago is no longer going unnoticed.”
Councilwoman Abbe Land said she looked forward to the time when the Day of Remembrance will be remembering victims from the distant past rather than from three days ago.
“I hope that this rain can just begin to wash away some of the hate that people have in their hearts,” Land said.
The theme for the day was “We Are the Change.” Several speakers said the change starts when each individual begins speaking up.
“The future is now,” said Drian Juarez, vice chair of the Transgender Advisory Board. “There are many advocates doing work to educate law enforcement, shelters, government, family, friends, school systems. Our youth, our future, are coming out at much earlier ages, changing the hearts and minds of parents, school, family and eventually the world.”
Councilman John D’Amico commented how West Hollywood is a place that encourages transformation and community for all people. He advocated securing rights for transgender people.
“We need personal rights,” D’Amico said. “Rights around rebirth, naming rights and rights we don’t even know yet because the transgender community needs to teach us about them.”
While happy about the progress that has been made, lawyer and transgender advocate Kyle Broadus noted how much education still needs to be done, especially within the LGBT community.
“Unfortunately, there are still so many people who don’t understand who we are,” said Broadus. “They are a lot of the L, a lot of the G and a lot of the B.”
The parade down Santa Monica Boulevard that was canceled due to the weather will be rescheduled sometime in the next two weeks, event officials promised.