For first time, Yellowknife marks Transgender Day of Remembrance

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For the first time, Yellowknife will join hundreds of cities around the world in holding an event for today’s Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR).

It’s a day to remember transgender people who have died because of prejudice. The annual observance began in the United States in the late 1990s.

Over the past decade, more than one person per month has died following transgender-based hate or prejudice according to TDOR’s official website. The trend, says TDOR, shows no sign of slowing.

In Yellowknife, residents will meet at the Northern United Place (NUP) chapel between 11am and 2pm on Friday to remember those who have lost their lives.

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The event is staged by It Gets Better Yellowknife, an outreach program supporting queer youth and their allies in the city.

“Transgender Day of Remembrance has events held all over the world in more than 185 cities,” said Jacq Brasseur, co-chair of It Gets Better.

“I was having a conversation with some friends organizing theirs down south and they asked me what was going on in Yellowknife.

“I realized there was nothing so I decided to throw something together last-minute, as we tend to do in Yellowknife.”

Brasseur says today’s event isn’t simply meant for reflection. Instead, she wants people to ask how we can stop violence against transgender members of our community.

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“I will be remembering friends of mine who have died not necessarily because they were trans, but because of the violence and the stigma around who they are,” she said.

“It’s hard to remember those people because sometimes you ask yourself what you could have done so that they were still alive.

“This event is not only about remembering those people but asking ourselves how we can stop that happening to other trans people in our community.”

At NUP, Brasseur says the public is free to light a candle, converse and write a message of support to the local transgender community.

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