Rehoboth TransLiance, Safe Harbor United Church of Christ and Metropolitan Community Church of Rehoboth will hold a short drive-in FM vigil for Transgender Day of Remembrance at 7 p.m., Friday, Nov. 20, at MCC Church in Rehoboth.
Attendees will be able to listen from the security of their own vehicles. There will be a reading of names in a safe, orderly, socially distant fashion. So far, the past year has been marred by 34 brutal acts of violence against transgender people. The 34 volunteer name readers will each receive a memorial ornament provided by Salisbury PFLAG. The ornaments will be sanitized and left on the table so the readers can take them home after the reading.
This year will pay special consideration to community. The vigil will feature three young local current and future community leaders.
Jay-Xavier, a 34-year-old black trans man, is from Sussex County. He currently works with combat veterans and also serves as a youth mentor to the LGBTQ+ community.
Jazminara Aran is a young transgender woman from Seaford. She is attending Delaware Tech and working toward a liberal arts degree.
Mikey Shock is a 19-year-old trans woman from Baltimore. She will be attending University of Arizona seeking a master’s degree in gender and women’s studies with a focus on gender, trans and sexualities studies. Arizona is one of the top universities in the country for transgender studies. After that, she will work toward a doctorate, hoping to become a counseling psychologist who works primarily with transgender patients and advocates for the trans community.
Each will talk about what their own community looks like, where they found their community, and what is lacking in the current community.
The Rev. Diane Fisher of MCC will provide a prerecorded prayer from a safe location. The Rev. Chet Charbagh of UCC will lead participants in prayer.
Following the prayers will be a reading of the names of transgender people killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice. This is the fourth TDOR vigil in Rehoboth, and organizers said they hope to keep it an annual event at least until the bigotry ends.
According to the national website, the Transgender Day of Remembrance serves several purposes. It raises public awareness of hate crimes against transgender people, an action that mainstream media doesn’t perform. It publicly mourns and honors the lives of brothers and sisters who might otherwise be forgotten.
Through the vigil, participants express love and respect for their people in the face of national indifference and hatred. The event reminds non-transgender people that these are their sons, daughters, parents, friends and lovers. It gives allies a chance to step forward with the trans community and stand in vigil, memorializing those who have died by anti-transgender violence.
Although not every person represented during the Day of Remembrance self-identified as transgender – that is, as a transsexual, crossdresser, or otherwise gender-variant – each was a victim of violence based on bias against transgender people.
MCC Church is at 19369 Plantation Road, Rehoboth Beach.