Members of the Alberni Valley Pride Society gather in front of Port Alberni’s city hall on Nov. 20, 2018 to recognize International Transgender Day of Remembrance, which honours people who have been killed because they are transgender. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Port Alberni’s transgender community marks international day of remembrance

Members of the Alberni Valley Pride Society gathered in front of Port Alberni City Hall with flags and signs on Tuesday, Nov. 20 to mark International Transgender Day of Remembrance.

“We read one by one the names of those deceased victims,” said Lana Leitova, one of nine people who waved flags and commemorated the lives of people who were killed violently because they were transgender.

“It was difficult to listen to the degree of violence in many of the cases,” she said. “It was very moving.”

There were 309 names on this list, many from Brazil, Mexico and Venezuela.

This was the second annual Transgender Day of Remembrance in Port Alberni. The international event began in 1999 by a transgender advocate to remember Rita Hester, a transgender woman from Boston who was killed in 1998. The first event commemorated all transgender people who had died in the year since Hester’s death. The day became a worldwide event for the transgender community to highlight the people who have died due to intolerance.

Many of the transgender people who are commemorated on this day died violently, Port Alberni organizer Jozie Palecek said.

“We’re commemorating transgender people who lost their life due to violence. We’re very lucky that in Canada nobody was murdered in such a way this year,” she said.

“It was very shocking the way some of them died,” added Kathee Muzin, who is Leitova’s wife.

The average number of deaths for Canadian transgender people is one per year, Mark Dawson said.

Paul Thompson, the newly elected chair of AV Pride Society, said it was emotional reading out the names of transgender people who were killed in the last year. “We have a decent trans community in Port Alberni,” he said. “It’s something that should be recognized. It’s growing on a very regular basis.”

Leitova said the small group in front of city hall received support from drivers who honked as they drove by, which she found heartening. “It can be scary to be transgender in this town sometimes,” she said.

Francis Palazzolo said the supportive trans and LGBTQ community in Port Alberni have given him the courage to speak publicly. He came out five months ago, just after attending the Victoria Pride parade. “I felt a great sense of pride and acceptance,” he said.

He and his wife talked about whether they should move to Victoria, but Palazzolo said support he has received from people in Port Alberni means he feels comfortable being himself here. “I feel happier in my own self, being able to express myself—who I truly am.”

Alberni Valley Pride Society members meet for coffee every Friday at 5:30 p.m. at Burde Beans on Burde Street at 12th Avenue. Allies are welcome too.

editor@albernivalleynews.com

 

Jozie Palecek holds up a flag for International Transgender Day of Remembrance in front of Port Alberni City Hall on Nov. 20, 2018. Nearly a dozen members from Alberni Valley Pride Society spent an hour waving flags and appreciating the support they received from passersby. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Just Posted

B.C.-born hockey official talks to IIHF about switching European rule book to NHL rules

Rob Shick will represent NHL at 4th World Hockey Forum in Russia

Campbell River mom’s iPhone containing priceless photos stolen from Victoria hospital parkade

The phone contained photos, heartbeat recordings of her late son

Helping with Christmas bird count is ‘citizen science’

Port Alberni’s bird count will be Dec. 28, 2019; volunteers are needed

BUDGET 2020: Port Alberni Fire Department needs new equipment

Police services ask for funding for community policing office

Child care sector feels the squeeze in Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District

There are five children for every licensed child care space in the ACRD

VIDEO: Boys help rescue Cariboo bear cub

The cub, weighing just 24lbs, has been taken to wildlife sanctuary in Northwest B.C. for the winter

Miller nets winner as Canucks edge Sabres 6-5 in OT

Roussel, Leivo tally two apiece for Vancouver

‘Norovirus-like’ outbreak interrupts Bantam hockey showcase in Greater Victoria

Several athletes were sent home, quarantined on the ferry

$578: that’s how much your first distracted driving ticket will cost with recent premium hikes

Over 50 per cent of Canadians admitted to using phone while driving last year, according to study

Kelowna man attempts to steal bait bike from RCMP parking lot

38-year-old Brian Richard Harbison is facing several charges

‘Things haven’t changed enough:’ Ecole Polytechnique anniversary prompts reflection

Fourteen women were fatally shot by a gunman at the Montreal school on Dec. 6, 1989

Bear raids freezer, gorges on Island family’s Christmas baking

Hungry bruin virtually ignored meat and fish, focused, instead, on the sweets

B.C. pharmaceutical company’s stocks double in value after successful lupus drug trial

More than 40 per cent of patients using voclosporin saw improvements in kidney function

Second warning on romaine lettuce from California region as another E. coli case reported

Two cases of E. coli have been reported in relation to the illness in the U.S.

Most Read