Long Beach LGBTQ Community and Allies Hold Transgender Day of Remembrance

24 Nov

About 200 people gathered on Monday, Nov. 20, at Harvey Milk Promenade Park in Long Beach, at 185 E. Third St, to remember those killed in the last year due to anti-transgender hatred, by publicly reading their names aloud.

The LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning) Center of Long Beach, the Human Rights Campaign, the Long Beach Imperial Court and Long Beach 1st District Councilwoman Lena Gonzalez hosted the remembrance, according to the Facebook page that announced the remembrance.

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Long Beach 1st District Councilwoman speaking, Monday, Nov. 20, at the Transgender Day of Remembrance; Photo by Barry Saks

According to the Center’s website, under its mission, “(t)he Center engages, empowers and advocates to achieve a more equitable society and fosters an ever-improving quality of life for the LGBTQ community.”

The HRC represents 1.5 million members and supporters nationwide, it’s the largest national LGBTQ civil rights organization and it “envisions a world where LGBTQ people are ensured of their basic equal rights, and can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community,” according to its website.

According to the About Facebook page of the Long Beach Imperial Court, its mission is “(t)o sponsor, support and promote charitable and educational programs and efforts; to raise funds for organizations within the Long Beach Empire in particular organizations within the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning community; to promote and recognize community leaders and to shine a light on those social service organizations that offer support and overall enrichment to those in need.”

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Porter Gilberg, the Executive Director of the LGBTQ Center of Long Beach, emceeing, on Monday, Nov. 20, at the Transgender Day of Remembrance; Photo by  Barry Saks 

Before the names were read, Porter Gilberg, who’s the executive director of the Center, emceed. Gilberg opened the program by introducing Councilwoman Gonzalez and characterizing her as “one of the LGBTQ community’s strongest allies.”

Gonzalez said, “As we commence, you know, this beautiful night and event, it’s always so very difficult because I’ve been given a paper that show names and how people have past…It always shocks me and it is so difficult to read many of these.”

Gonzalez wasn’t the only elected official to speak.  City of Signal Hill Councilman Larry Forester followed her.  He said, “This is a very, very solemn evening.”  He added he is the president of GLBT caucus for the League of California Cities and that it published to educate people a municipal guide, “Transgender in the Workplace.”  The guide may be accessed by clicking here.

 

After Forester spoke, Gilberg said, “On a night where we are remembering lives lost from one of our most marginalized communities, I think it is incredibly important to acknowledge the leadership that is here tonight.”  Besides acknowledging the presence of Long Beach Councilwoman Gonzalez and Signal Hill Councilman Larry Forester, Gilberg also acknowledged the presence of Tim Patton representing Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia, Megan Kerr, the president of the Long Beach Unified School District, Larry Blunden, the Signal Hill City Treasurer, and Maricela Renteria de Rivera, the chair of the Long Beach Transit Board.

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Anna Gerringer speaking on Monday, Nov.20, at the Transgender Day of Remembrance; Pnoto by Barry Saks

Gilberg then introduced Anna Gerringer, as a “local community member” and said that Gerringer was going “to share her story of resiliency.”  She said, “I’ve been female for all of my existence…I knew I wasn’t strong enough to be openly trans (transgender) the first 48 years of my life. To be absolutely honest, I’m still not sure that I am….I’ve been assaulted several times….Violence against trans-women is rampant because they don’t want to call law enforcement, they feel that law enforcement often feels they (trans-women) have no value.”

The names were read solemnly with the audience holding candles.

The same Facebook announcing the event also said the Transgender Day of Remembrance is held yearly in November to honor Rita Hester, who was murdered on Nov. 28, 1998.

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