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Transgender Day of Remembrance honors those lost to violence, suicide

SARANAC LAKE — The Adirondack North Country Gender Alliance hosted memorial services for the Transgender Day of Remembrance at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church for the fourth year in a row Sunday.

“It’s a day for the trans community, by the trans community to remember those viciously and brutally murdered within the last 12 months,” ANCGA Executive Director Kelly Metzgar said. “It also commemorates those we’ve lost because of suicide.”

Metzgar said at the event she likes to focus less on numbers and more on the intimate details of those affected by transgender violence and suicide.

“We attempt to make this very personal,” she said. “We have photos of the victims. We site cite their names, where they’re from, the date of death and how they died. We honor each and every individual person by telling their story. I don’t want to just cite facts and statistics. We want to bring the human and personal aspect to the event.”

Metzgar said about 15 people attended the event.

“St. Luke’s has been wonderful the last four years in allowing us to hold the services at their church, so I’m grateful and thankful to the parishioners,” she said.

“I’m glad we had people come out, but I wish we had a few more folks participating,” Metzgar continued. “These things happen here in the North Country, and we want to bring that awareness that this affects all of us. We’re not immune to it, and we need to be vigilant.”

Metzgar said in the past year, between 300 and 350 transgender people have lost their lives internationally because of how they self-identify.

“These people had families,” she said. “They were loved. They were someone’s child, someone’s sibling, someone’s significant other. Here in the U.S., we’ve lost 22 transgender people in the past year. That’s about two people per month, and it’s not acceptable to have those people murdered just because of how they chose to live their lives.”

The official Transgender Day of Remembrance is Wednesday, and Metzgar said ANCGA will hold another service then at the Angel College Center at SUNY Plattsburgh at 7 p.m.