Keene State College’s  Pride & Office of Multicultural Student Support and Success sponsored an event in honor of Transgender Day of Remembrance on Nov. 20.

Fourteen people joined KSC’s Program Assistant for LGBTQ Students Hunter Kirschner at the event, which took place in the Madison Street Lounge located in the L.P. Young Student Center.

According to the Transgender Day of Remebrance website, this day is to honor and mourn individuals who have been murdered as a result of anti-transgender discrimination.

Every year transgenders are murdered because of who they are. The Trans Murder Monitoring (TMM) research project released a finding in 2016 that there were 325 reported murders of transgender people.

During the event, Kirschner shared his own opinion but was more focused on the attendees with discussing their ideas and experiences.

The group talked about issues going on and what they hope the future will look like for them. After the discussion, the group stood in a circle with candle lights. They then proceeded to read the names one by one of the transgender people who were murdered.

After the reading, the group sat down one last time to talk about why they think this day of remembrance is important to them and resources on campus for anybody who needs them.

Kirschner set up the event and has been leading the event for the past three years.

“A year ago we had a speaker come in and the year before we did some tabling in the Student Center, this year we wanted to have a group discussion,” Kirschner said.

A lot of these murders took place in continents like South America and Africa, Kirschner said. Unlike North America, these continents do not have laws protecting the rights of transgender people. Kirschner said these statistics are off because there are some murders that are not reported.

“A lot of these deaths are not given proper news coverage or even acknowledgment that this is happening,” Kirschner said.

“The life of that person are [is] not honored in the way that they lived their life,” Kirschner said. “These mistakes can be anything from saying their name wrong or misgendering them.”

Kirschner said there is still a lot of work for the transgender community but small events like this can help. “This little stuff may seem insignificant but that little stuff leads to bigger things happening.”

The Associate Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion Dottie Morris, who has been at KSC since 2008, also helped set up the event.

Morris said she works with different divisions of the college on promoting goals and values as they relate to equity and diversity.

“When Kirschner came into [his] position, Transgender Day has become more of an event,” Morris said. Before Kirschner came to KSC three years ago the college only acknowledged the day.

“I think it is important to have this event so people can become more informed about the various ways people are living their lives, but to do it in a more personal way,” Morris said.

Morris said her main job is to support students and staff and as a result of her desire to do that she is supportive of Kirschner’s work.

“It is my duty in any way create an environment where people feel like they can be freely who they are,” Morris said.

Jack Farley, a first-year student, attended the event because he was curious to see what the event would be like.

“I, myself, do not identify as transgender, but ever since I’ve got to college, I notice that there are a lot more transgender people,” Farley said.

Farley said he knew very little about the transgender community and had no idea how many people were murdered across the world for being transgender.

“I was taken back for a minute when we were naming the names off because I couldn’t believe there are people out there who would kill someone because of who they identify themself as,” Farley said.

Matthew Kahlman can be contacted at mkahlman@kscequinox.com

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