The Pride Center held a vigil via Instagram Live Thursday in remembrance of transgender individuals who have lost their lives this year.
Lyosha Gorshkov, assistant director for the Pride Center and Women’s Center, was one of several organizers and speakers at the vigil. The Transgender Remembrance Vigil, Gorshkov said, was one way of educating people and reminding them that violence perpetrated against the transgender community is present and real.
“This is a way to amplify voices we have lost,” Gorshkov said in an emailed statement. “This is a way to make people aware that transgender individuals are INDIVIDUALS, not a “strange fruit.” This is a chance to provide another venue for all of us to get united against hate.”
Gorshkov described their role in the event as that of a guide, both in a literal and spiritual sense. They worked closely with their team in order to decide not only which format to deliver the vigil in, but also which platform would suit the event best.
“We decided to make the event interactive due to COVID restrictions,” Gorshkov said. “We hosted the in-person event in the Quad but we were aware that not everyone could come, so that’s why we decided to livestream it via IG as it’s a more convenient platform.”
The Transgender Remembrance Vigil was hosted physically at the SRU Quad, where its hosts gave a short speech on the matter before taking turns reading from a list of names. Gorshkov explained that each name belonged to a transgender individual who was “lost to brutality and violence in 2020.”
The Transgender Remembrance Vigil has been hosted in previous years as part of the University’s Pride Weeks, Gorshkov said. Raising awareness of these issues and commemorating the lives lost each year is a tradition that long predates this event, Gorshkov said, and it is a tradition with an important purpose.
“The overall message was to remember our beautiful “siblings” who had no chance to enjoy their lives,” Gorshkov said. “This is, also, an act of solidarity and a message to a larger community that you are not alone, that we are here and we stand by you and fight along with you.”