Community remembers transgender lives lost to violence

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LANSING, Mich (WLNS)– 331 transgender and gender diverse people have been killed this year across the globe and today members of the LGBTQ+ community and their allies honored those victims.

The ‘Trans Murder Monitoring Report’ is released annually. Since the project began in 2008, 3,314 deaths have been recorded.

One group, Free Mom Hugs, hosted a rally on the steps of the Capitol Weds. to advocate for their children and loved ones and raise awareness of the violence and discrimination that people in the LGBTQ+ community face.

“Free Mom Hugs” hosts rally outside Lansing’s Capitol to honor the lives lost to transphobic violence

According to their website, Free Mom Hugs is a group of affirming parents and allies who love the LGBTQ+ community unconditionally.

“We have a huge fight to go but I just want them to know that they’re loved, that they’re accepted, that we affirm them, we celebrate them and we will not back down until their rights– trans rights are human rights and until they’re all equal we’re not done,” group member and mother Jill Lash said.

Lash said despite recent new policies in the state, there is still a long way to go to ensure members of the LGBTQ+ community are not discriminated against.

Group organizers said the LGBTQ+ community has become the most targeted group for hate crimes with 86 percent of people reporting they’ve been harassed. Organizers add that more than half of states in the U.S., including Michigan have no laws to protect against discrimination for either orientation or gender identity.

Lansing Community college also hosted a Day of Remembrance event to wrap up their Transgender Awareness Week.

The event, put on by Sarah Garcia-Linz with the LCC Prism Employee Alliance, aimed to honor the LGBTQ + community and recognize victims of needless violence.

Reverend Phiwa Langeni, Founder and Director of the Salus Center, read the names of 22 transgender or gender non-conforming people killed in the U.S. this year in acts of transphobic violence.

“I don’t even know the people personally, but I don’t have to know them personally to feel that grief. Even this year actually like two of those names were people right here in Michigan,” Langeni said adding, “As long as trans folk keep getting killed, and people keep getting away with it we’re going to keep talking about it every day you know, until we don’t have to talk about it.”

Langeni said many of the victims in these acts of violence are transgender women under the age of 30.

“It’s not even fathomable. I literally cannot even think how like someone just being who they are, becomes so much of a threat to someone else that they feel like they have to take them out,” Langeni said.

As part of the transgender community, Langeni said it’s important that people educate themselves so that misconceptions about the LGBTQ+ community don’t continue to lead to acts of senseless violence.

“Who you are does not have to be a threat to who I am. Like, it literally doesn’t we can co-exist in the world,” Langeni said.

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