The solemn day came and went and so too did the momentum and attention from well-wishers and allies from across the region who come in droves to these events to signal their allyship and support. Gone are the marching crowds with their posters and chants and support.
Now Williams (a Black trans woman) and her colleagues and community are asking themselves the same question they’ve entertained every November 21: How do we maintain outside interest and support when we’re not marching through the streets?
“They’re not in the minutiae. They’re in the, ‘Oh, this is Trans Day of Remembrance, this is a chance for me to show respect and solidarity,'” Williams says. “However, after that’s done, they go back to their regular lives.”
The Human Rights Campaign published a report last month noting that at least 49 trans and gender-nonconforming people had been killed in the United States since the beginning of this year — the highest number reported since HRC began tracking deaths in 2013. The “at least” caveat is included to account for the unknown number of deaths that go unrecorded as a result of deadnaming or misgendering the deceased.
This year, on November 20, South Florida allies and advocates joined members of the trans community in a march and vigil in Wilton Manors to honor the 49 trans and nonbinary people who were killed this year. Transinclusive Group, the Pride Center, and other community partners organized the event. Roughly 100 people gathered in Wilton Manors to hold a vigil and then march down Wilton Drive.
Nic Zantop, communications director for the Pride Center, described a line of posters at the vigil, each bearing the faces and names of trans or nonbinary individuals killed this year.
“People were able to march through Wilton Manors carrying these posters, and it was a really powerful way to memorialize everyone,” Zantop says. “It’s definitely heartbreaking to see the faces of so many people who have been lost.”
Now begins the even more difficult work, says Transinclusive Group’s Williams.
Williams leads South Florida’s first Black and trans-led organization, which provides resources and support for trans and gender-nonconforming people, including services like assistance in changing one’s name and/or gender marker, career services, and hormone-replacement therapy.
Williams fears most people don’t realize organizations like hers exist outside of the context of social-justice organizing.
“We don’t often find those people who are helping us to be able to keep the conversation going — to help us advocate in a way to bring that visibility,” she says. “This is why the conversation and the momentum gets lost, because there’s other things that, when people go back to their lives, are more important to them.”
Transinclusive Group can be reached at 954-372-7746, and is located at 2038 N. Dixie Hwy, Suite 104B, Wilton Manors. Pride Center can be reached at 954-463-9005, and is located at 2040 North Dixie Highway, Wilton Manors.