COLORADO SPRINGS — At Acacia Park in downtown Colorado Springs, activists held a memorial and rally for Transgender Remembrance Day. The day on November 20th honors the memory of transgender people whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence, according to the nonprofit GLAAD.
"The past year especially, the past probably 5 or 6 years in total have been frightening years for us in the trans community," said Club Q mass shooting survivor Wyatt Kent.
Kent was in Club Q with his partner Daniel Aston, a proud trans man, the night of November 19th, 2022. Aston, along with 4 other people died that night. 17 others were shot.
The FBIcollected data from 234 law enforcement agencies in Colorado about anti-transgender hate crimes. Over the last 5 years, there were 53 incidents, mainly assaults, that occurred in the state. Of those, 20 happened in 2022. That means nearly 40% of anti-trans hate crimes happened last year.
"It's frightening to see all that hate surrounding us, but it's even more wonderful to see when the community stands together and shows love," said Kent.
The Bread and Roses Legal Center, along with Community Health Partnerships, hosted the memorial and rally to remember the victims of anti-trans violence.
At the event, several members of the LGBTQ-plus community spoke about their experiences in Colorado Springs and remarked how positive the community has been since the Club Q mass shooting.
State Representative Stephanie Vigil (D, District 16), also spoke at the event about conversations they have had with victims of anti-trans hate crimes. They say that victims believe normalizing their gender identity and the care those people receive could help lower hate crimes.
"So I am talking with victims all the time for things we can look at how we respond to hate crimes," said Rep. Vigil. "I'm also going further upstream and looking at how we treat folks when they're transgender, even in their youth."
Kent believes Daniel Aston's encouraging work in the trans community was impactful in Colorado Springs and wants to see it grow across Colorado.
"[Daniel's] work is something that can be carried on nationally, internationally. It's that unconditional love and solidarity for another human being that he absolutely had, we can all reflect on in ourselves and each other," said Kent.
Watch KOAA News5 on your time, anytime with our free streaming app available for your Roku, FireTV, AppleTV and Android TV. Just search KOAA News5, download and start watching.