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Concord event marks day for remembering those who lost their lives because of their gender identity

Last modified: 11/21/2014 4:19:10 PM
They were hoping to send a simple message: We’re here for you. The team at the Concord Feminist Health Center was pleasantly surprised, then, when more than 40 people heeded their invitation to a candlelight vigil for Transgender Day of Remembrance last night.

“I think it shows New Hampshire is welcoming and is open,” Executive Director Dalia Vidunas said of the turnout, which included transgender individuals and allies, including parents, professors and friends.

Together, they traveled down Main Street – pausing for a prayer service in front of the State House, where they were joined by the Unitarian Universalist Church of Concord – and back to the health center.

In preparation for the vigil, outreach coordinator Lakayla Harris made 35 candleholders bearing the names of transgender people who were killed in 2013 and 2014 – not nearly enough to represent all those who died around the world, she added. In 2014 alone, she said she counted at least 80 transgender people who have been killed. The names were drawn from a memorial page on the Transgender Day of Remembrance website, tdor.info.

The Concord health center began last year offering services for people who are transgender or in the process of transitioning, Vidunas said.

Steph Maloney found out about the event through her school’s Manchester Community College Pride organization. Born male, she identifies as female and will begin officially transitioning soon. For her, the vigil was a welcome chance to spread awareness.

“Transgender is one of the more hidden communities in the ‘LGBT’ community,” Maloney said. “It’s one of the least transparent ones and most misunderstood.”

(Casey McDermott can be reached at 369-3306 or cmcdermott@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @caseymcdermott.)


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