YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — On Sunday, members of the Youngstown LGBTQ+ community came together for Transgender Day of Remembrance.
Every Nov. 20, communities honor trans people who lost their lives to violence.
Locals at United Unitarian Church shared their stories about what being transgender in today’s world means.
“Amäriey Lèį, 20 years old, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Jan. 1.”
One by one the names of the 32 transgender people known to have been killed in the US since the start of the year were read aloud.
“Don’t call me Eva today. Call me statistic 33. When I was 22-years-old is when I finally decided to accept who I was and I remember my mother and my father being so scared for me,” said speaker Eva Lucian-Bardashian.
She spoke about her struggles with being homeless, discrimination from landlords and employers all because she is transgender. She said she lives knowing every day she could be a target for violence.
“I like to live proud, especially to honor the people, the brave people who have lost their lives just because they were being themselves,” Lucian-Bardashian said.
Boardman local and Youngstown State University graduate Ginger Williams is a board member for TransOhio — the oldest transgender equality group in the state.
“In Ohio, there are a few people who are using gender, race and class to divide us,” Williams said.
She just this past week returned from a trip to the Pulse Nightclub shooting memorial in Orlando.
“Little did I know that in the last 24 hours we would be sending out our strength and love to the folks at Club Q,” Williams said, referencing a shooting at LGBTQ+ club in Colorado Springs this weekend that killed five people and wounded more.
It’s a tragic and grim reminder of the fear the marginalized trans community feels by just existing.
“I try not to live by fear, it’s not easy, there are things that I don’t do that I would like to do, maybe — but I don’t because of fear,” said speaker Davina Shriver.
Fear that next year — theirs is one of the names read aloud on Nov. 20.
Daniel Tirabassi with Full Spectrum Outreach commented on the Club Q shooting in Colorado Springs, stating, “To remember all the hate that’s happening today, generally speaking, throughout the year and have something so massive happen the night before these events going on — it’s an intense thing to go through, and have to lump it all together.”