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Transgender Day of Remembrance: A Gathering of Hope

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The Transgender Education Collaboration is hosting a Transgender Day of Remembrance Service next Sunday at 6 p.m.
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On Sunday November 20, 2011, The Transgender Education Collaboration, in partnership with Plymouth United Church of Christ, held its first annual Transgender Day of Remembrance service. Over 100 individuals from throughout West Michigan participated in the service, remembering and celebrating the lives of those from the Gender variant community who were killed in 2011. 

According to, over 116 transgender people were murdered around the world in the first nine months of 2011, with seven of the murders occurring in the United States, with most taking place in Latin American countries. TMM, a project of Transgender Europe, estimates that at least 681 transgender people have been murdered in 50 countries since 2008.

"People are being killed due to their gender identity or presentation. It is that simple, that horrific. If we don’t pause to remember and to grieve, we will not rise to act in order to stop such horror,” said Reverend Doug VanDoren, of Plymouth United Church of Christ.  

"We are gathering together in community on this 14th annual Transgender Day of Remembrance to memorialize transgender individuals who have lost their lives this last year. It is very important, because we must make sure that these silenced voices are heard. The transgender community still faces discrimination and hate and by coming together, we will continue to build our resolve as a community to face the challenges ahead. In solidarity, we can really push for change.” said event organizer M Kelley. “Through the sharing of stories, music, reading of names and other presentations, this year’s service will create a space where we are free to mourn those lost while building up our local transgender community.” 

Dr. Julie Nemecek, a nationally known activist and educator, who provided the keynote address at the 2011 West Michigan Transgender Day of Remember service said, “When I think of all the transgendered people around the globe who have been killed, I think of the second phrase from Lincoln’s address from near the end of his remarks he said, 'We here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain.' My hope and prayer is that part of the TDOR observance is that we too will “highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain.” This evening, let’s use these tragic deaths to rekindle our resolve for justice, equality, and safety that these dead shall not have died in vain. I urge you to join me in that resolve.”

The 2012 West Michigan Transgendered Day of Remembrance will be held on Sunday November 18, 2012 at 6:00 p.m. at Plymouth United Church of Christ, 4010 Kalamazoo Avenue SE, Grand Rapids, MI. The service will have secular and spiritual overtones as recognition that some in the transgender community have been shunned by religious traditions and would not feel comfortable in a church setting.

For more information, please contact:


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 The Reverend Doug VanDoren

[email protected] or 616-455-4260


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