Tampa Bay to mark Trans Day of Remembrance 2021

ABOVE: Transgender Day of Remembrance 2018 at St. Pete City Hall. Photo by Ryan Williams-Jent.

TAMPA BAY | LGBTQ advocates in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Sarasota will mark Transgender Day of Remembrance Nov. 20 through in-person and virtual events.

The annual commemoration honors the lives lost in acts of anti-transgender violence each year. According to the nation’s largest LGBTQ civil rights organization, at least 44 transgender or gender nonconforming people have been murdered in 2021.

“These victims, like all of us, are loving partners, parents, family members, friends and community members,” the Human Rights Campaign advises. “They worked, went to school and attended houses of worship. They were real people – people who did not deserve to have their lives taken from them.”

The Tampa Bay International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival and St Pete Pride will begin this year’s commemoration Nov. 19 with the second annual Tampa Bay Transgender Film Festival. Their virtual festival will be available at no cost and screen films nationally through Nov. 21.

Its vision is “to create space grounded in and centered around the transgender community, support those in film who support our community and to share these films with our allies,” the partners share. It’s why the festival’s transgender screening committee will once again present content with key narratives surrounding the transgender experience.

Four feature-length films and a shorts program will be presented this year, available to watch however audiences choose but with a suggested viewing order. It will open with a centering and meditation video due to narratives which include dysphoria, violence and death.

The shorts program features “Dead Model, Life Model,” “Dustin,” “Frankie” and “Pascal.” This year’s features, in suggested order, are “The Labyrinth of the Moons,” “Instructions for Survival,” “See You Then” and “One of the Guys.”

The films vary in content and length. The festival will also host an online social Nov. 19 at 7:30 p.m. and a video vigil Nov. 20 premiering at 9 a.m.

TDoR vigils will follow in-person throughout Tampa Bay beginning at 6 p.m. PFLAG Tampa will host theirs at Joe Chillura Courthouse Square until 8 p.m., located at 600 E. Kennedy Blvd.

“This year we will honor the lives lost due to this blatant anti-transgender violence and look to the future as we inspire change in our communities,” the organization shares. “PFLAGs across the nation are working to create safer, more inclusive and equitable environments for all – and that includes our trans family.”

The City of Tampa will also formally recognize TDoR. Read more below.

ALSO Youth will hold their TDoR vigil from 6-7:30 p.m. with the support of Project Pride and CAN Community Health. The organization will host a candlelight vigil and then provide food and fellowship after the commemoration at its Sarasota Center, located at 1470 Blvd. of the Arts in Sarasota.

St. Petersburg’s vigil is organized by Lucas Wehle and will be held from 6:30-8 p.m. As in years past, it will begin with a candlelight march at The Sunshine Center ending at City Hall, located at 175 5th St. N. The evening’s featured speakers include the city’s outgoing Mayor Rick Kriseman, who recently reflected on the importance of such gatherings.

“Trans Day of Remembrance is a time to come together as a community to remember those we have lost to senseless violence and speak out against the hate and fear that is still so prominent against the trans community,” Wehle says. “I absolutely hate that this is still an issue and is still getting worse every year. But I am hopeful that one day we will hold this event for those we have lost in the past and that the violence is not ongoing.”

For more information about the Tampa Bay Transgender Film Festival, streaming nationally, visit TransFilmFest.Eventive.org. Learn more about Tampa’s vigil here, Sarasota’s here and St. Petersburg’s here. To add an event or vigil to this list, email Managing Editor Ryan Williams-Jent at Ryan@WatermarkOnline.com.

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