By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – Oklahoma City residents will gather together to recognize the Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR), on Wednesday, November 20. The day honors the memory of the transgender people whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence.
Hosted by the Diversity Center of Oklahoma and The Gayly newspaper from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., the event will include testimonials, honoring of loved ones, prayer, candle light vigil and a celebration of life.
Supporters will gather at 4001 N. Classen Boulevard, in Oklahoma City at 5:30 p.m. for Oklahoma City’s 8th Annual Transgender Day of Remembrance & Candle Light Vigil.
Participants will listen to local Two-Spirit, transgender, gender diverse, family members, community leaders and advocates as they honor and remember loved ones that have been lost over the past year.
The Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) is observed annually on November 20 as a day to memorialize those who have been a victim of criminal violence as a result of transphobia and to draw attention to the continued violence endured by the transgender community.
“We will walk in solidarity in a candle light vigil from 39th Street & N. Classen Boulevard, ending at the Diversity Center of Oklahoma, 2242 NW 39th (at Youngs), Where we will have a Celebration of Life” will be held in the Brooklyn BeYanna Stevenson room. Refreshments will be provided.” said organizers.
Brooklyn, was a 31year old Black transgender woman, was found brutally murdered in Oklahoma City on November 27, 2017.
Diversity Center of Oklahoma Inc., is a Nationally recognized Gender Diverse & 2S-LGBTQ Community Resource Center in the state of Oklahoma.
“We specialize in providing complete wrap around services to transgender/gender diverse individuals and their families as well as other disenfranchised and marginalized people of color.” said Kelley Blair, CEO and executive director.
“It is our goal to have educational workshops and training for the community, as well as a safe communal place for people to gather for celebrations and other local events,” Blair added.
The Diversity Center partners with numerous agencies that provide wrap around services to the 2S-LGBTQ community including: behavioral health; primary healthcare, STI testing, pharmaceutical, social services and case management, family planning services, vocal modulation services, advocacy and legal services.
The Center is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., evening and weekends by appointment only. For more information, call 405-604-5217 or visit diversitycenterofoklahoma.org.
“The community has really supported us in every effort,” said Blair. “We want people to feel safe and comfortable coming here and know that they have ownership here.”
“Transgender Day of Remembrance seeks to highlight the losses we face due to anti-transgender bigotry and violence. With so many seeking to erase transgender people — sometimes in the most brutal ways possible — it is vitally important that those we lose are remembered, and that we continue to fight for justice,” said Transgender Day of Remembrance founder Gwendolyn Ann Smith.
Smith started the Transgender Day of Remembrance in 1999 as a vigil to honor the memory of Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was killed in 1998.
The public is encouraged to attend this family friendly event. Security will be provided.
Parking will be available at the Expressions Community Center. For those not walking who want to come directly to the Diversity Center of Oklahoma, there will be no parking at the Diversity Center.
Check for updates related to inclement weather. For more information, visit the event Facebook page.