QSA holds candlelight vigil for transgender community

With the transgender community experiencing strong feelings of hardship and a disconnect with society, the Queer Student Alliance (QSA) has teamed up with the HUB to hold an event remembering those who have been killed for being transgender. 

Violence against the transgender community has been an ongoing issue and the statistics continue to rise with each year that passes. According to the organization Human Rights Campaign, “In 2017 advocates tracked at least 29 deaths of transgender people in the United States due to fatal violence”. According to an American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) article, a survey done by the National Center for Transgender Equality found that “one in four transgender people have been assaulted for being trans.” 

Another statistic from the Human Rights Campaign found that “2018 has already seen at least 24 transgender people fatally shot or killed by other violent means”. The rising trends of violence against the transgender community motivated the HUB and the QSA club to work together.

On Tuesday, Nov. 27, the combined effort of the QSA and the HUB culminated in the event  called “The Transgender Day of Remembrance”,  which gave people the opportunity to pay their respects and hold a moment of silence for all those in the transgender community who have lost their lives.

“The Transgender Day of Remembrance” was lead by the president of the QSA club, Kendall Andrews. Andrews, as well as their club members, held this event so other Seawolves could remember and support those of the transgender community.

The event was located at the HUB on the second floor of the student center and was a safe place for anyone that wanted to express their thoughts and feelings towards the issue. The air was filled with sorrow and disbelief at the continued violence against the transgender community. This ongoing issue was agreed on by everyone in the HUB that it is unjust, cruel and causing people to be afraid of their safety in this world. 

At the HUB, the QSA club had many open seats for anyone that wanted to come and remember those who have passed as well as a safe space for people to speak freely. Seawolves, Sonoma State faculty and members of the QSA club filled the seats. A feeling of sadness filled the air with remembering those who have passed. 

People who attended got the opportunity to go outside of the student center and stand in a circle holding candles. As the candles gleamed, Andrews listed off the names of those in the transgender community that have recently passed. 

To pay respect to those who have passed, participants stood in a moment of silence. Devon Szantos, a junior Psychology major, stated, “I witnessed the people standing in a circle with their candles. Once I heard them start reading off the names it broke my heart to hear numerous people that have been killed for being what makes them happy”.

Many students like Szantos got to watch the candle vigil and hear the names of those who have passed. It was a heartfelt way for the QSA club and participants to show Sonoma State University what cruelty is being enforced towards the LGBTQ+ community. 

The president of the QSA club knew this event would be impactful, but more needs to be done. Andrews stated, “Seeing living, breathing people face such violence for simply expressing and living their gender the way that is necessary to their survival is a very frustrating and sickening thing that makes everyone in the trans community afraid to exist as trans… We need cisgender people’s help to create change”.

The QSA club remembered those who have passed as well as showcasing the need for a safer community for those who are apart of the LGBTQ+ community. With the hopes of a better and safer world, the QSA club and the HUB will stand together to stick with the community that is being brutally treated just for identifying and being who they are.