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The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Spectrum holds ceremony to recognize lost transgender lives

Students honored the lives of transgender and gender non-conforming people who were reported as killed within the past year by gathering in the Rhatigan Student Center on Nov. 20.

Transgender Day of Remembrance is celebrated annually on Nov. 20. This tradition was created by transgender advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith, who was killed in 1998.

More than 60 transgender and gender non-conforming people were reported as killed in the United States in the past year. There are most likely more people who haven’t been reported or have been misreported.

Allison Campbell, vice president of Spectrum: LGBTQ & Allies, said this year has special significance to the community.

“We honor one of our own, Rexy Que, a student and long-time Spectrum member and officer, who we lost a little more than a year ago,” Campbell said.

Spectrum also honored Jesús Baena Saucedo, one of Mexico’s first openly non-binary magistrate judges and an LGBTQ activist. Saucedo and their partner were found dead in their home last week. 

At the front of the room, a table was filled with photos of transgender and gender-nonconforming people who were reported murdered. As Campbell and Damaris Mireles, Spectrum treasurer, read their names, everyone was asked to drop a pebble in a vase of water to acknowledge and honor them. After, there was a moment of silence for those who were unreported or lost their life to suicide.

At the end of the ceremony, community service workers spoke about their mission. Tiffany Moos, a nurse practitioner from M-Care Healthcare, said she didn’t know how to take care of transgender people until she was given resources.

“I do have non-binary and transgender folks in my family who I love dearly,” Moos said. “I see the struggles that they have to face, and ever since working in care, I have seen even more struggles that they face.” 

Will Rapp, the Wichita chapter managing organizer of Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), also spoke at the ceremony. GLSEN is an organization that works to prevent discrimination and harassment based on sexual orientation or gender.

Mireles spoke about the resources that Wichita State offers for students in need of support. She said she and other Spectrum officers are willing to help students access them.

Counseling and Psychological Services provides counseling sessions for students, and Health Outreach Prevention and Education Services offers services and education on various topics, including suicide prevention.

Students can also attend a trans/gender non-conforming support group. For more information, contact [email protected].

During their speech, Campbell shared a quote from Smith.

“With so many seeking to erase transgender people — sometimes in the most brutal way possible — it is vitally important that those we lose are remembered and that we continue to fight for justice.”

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About the Contributor
Mel Bright, Former reporter
Mel Bright was a reporter and photographer for The Sunflower. When Bright is not in school, they loves to dance, act and they do photography on the side for fun. Bright uses they/them pronouns.

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