Local organization planning virtual vigil for Transgender Day of Remembrance

By Germain Ma

This week is Trans Awareness Week, and a local organization which supports LGBTQ2+ individuals is planning a few events.

“It's a week just to bring awareness to the issues that trans and non-binary people are facing every day, and how people can be better allies to them,” said Scott Williams, project coordinator at SPECTRUM. 

SPECTRUM will be holding a virtual vigil for the Transgender Day of Remembrance on November 20 to remember transgender people lost to violence.

There will be speakers at the event, and facilitated healing circles that will allow people to share their experiences and receive support from counselors.

It will start at 3 p.m. and the healing circles will start at 4 p.m. 

The virtual vigil was created in partnership with the Glow Centre at the University of Waterloo, and there will be a small in-person portion of the event for students.

All other community members are invited to attend virtually.

SPECTRUM is also hosting transgender peer support groups this Thursday and Friday nights.

“There's a long way to go, I think, for transgender and non-binary people in Canada,” Williams said. “Their rights and their levels of acceptance are probably 20 to 25 years behind where lesbian, gay, bisexual people are today.” 

A fact sheet compiled by SPECTRUM found that 42 per cent of trans respondents to a Waterloo Region study reported needing to move away from family or friends because of their gender identity.

“Less than half, about 43 percent of trans people in Waterloo Region have come out to people outside of their immediate family, and nearly a third of those who have, say that the people they have come out to are unsupportive,” Williams added. 

The fact sheet also noted that LGBTQ2+ Canadians are more likely to experience physical and sexual assault.

Williams said he hopes participants in events this week will be able to get a sense of community, belonging, and a sense of healing.

More information about the events, including registration can be found on SPECTRUM's website

Resources can also be found there to help individuals and businesses navigate topics and issues related to the LGBTQ2+ community.

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