Transgender Remembrance Day recognizes fatalities and inequality in the Upstate

The Human Rights Campaign says there’s been at least 32 transgender and non-conforming people killed this year to violence. And next week, advocates nationwide will recognize the lives lost.
The Human Rights Campaign says there’s been at least 32 transgender and non-conforming people killed this year to violence.
Published: Nov. 18, 2022 at 9:04 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 18, 2022 at 11:10 PM EST
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GREENVILLE, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - The Human Rights Campaign says there’s been at least 32 transgender and non-conforming people killed this year to violence. And next week, advocates nationwide will recognize the lives lost. That day is called Transgender Remembrance Day, it also pays tribute to those in the Upstate.

Advocates say there’s disturbing and equally under reported numbers impacting the lives of the trans community. It’s a reality that’s not as openly discussed, that people like “Joe” know all too well.

You can say 36-year-old “Joe” knows a lot about basketball and living life on defense.

“It taught me how to see people,” he said.

“Joe” played basketball all his life, it even put him through college.

“I wouldn’t have gone to college and gotten an education,” he said.

It’s also a place where his identity changed, he was born a woman who first identified as a lesbian, before he transitioned from a woman to a man.

“It’s how you identify on the inside, and it doesn’t match the outside part,” he said.

And it’s this population the Human Rights Campaign says faces a culture of violence, harassment, discrimination and lack of legal protections.

“We have a right to be here, and we cannot allow hate or fear to dismantle our lives,” “Joe” said.

And recent data from HRC shows there’s a long road ahead.

When it comes to the workplace, 27% of transgender employees report having been fired or denied a promotion due to their identity or expression. And in medical care, one in three say they’ve been denied medical services.

“I feel like being labeled has done more damage in America because it can be weaponized,” “Joe” said.

There’s resources in the Upstate to help. Pride Link is one nonprofit that offers affirming resources to the LGBTQ+ community. The nonprofit also says there’s stigma, and cultural barriers and challenges amongst the regions populace.

“We live in America, and everyone says America the great, right? So if it’s the great it should be inclusive of all people without discrimination and the marginalization of anyone,” said Keona Prude, Pride Link director of operations & communications

“They are often victimized, brutalized, ignored and misrepresented – especially in the South,” she said.

Prude is referring to other HRC data that shows of the approximately 300 deaths since 2013, four out of five were people of color. Marquiisha Lawrence was fatally shot in Greenville on Nov. 4 of last year.

“To put these incidents and people out in the forefront – is changing the climate and environment, which people are (still) so afraid of change,” Prude said.

Which is why on Monday a candlelight vigil will be held in honor of Marquiisha and others during a Transgender Day of Remembrance ceremony on USC Upstate’s campus. The event is sponsored by USC Upstate Office of Intercultural Education and Engagement (IEE), Pride Link, Uplift Outreach Center, Upstate Pride SC, Upstate SC LGBT+ Chamber, and Spectrum.

“This event is not only to recognize the lives that are lost but it’s to recognize the ones that are still here and recognize the people who are going to come,” Prude said.

The Human Rights Campaign estimates of the 300 deaths involving the trans and non-binary community, no arrest has been made in 40-percent of the cases, and the killer remains unknown or at large. Organizers of next week’s event hope the vigil leads to justice.