This week, Huffington Post Gay Voices featured a piece by Kylar Broadus, a transgender advocate, lawyer, board member of the National Black Justice Coalition, and founder of the Trans People of Color Coalition, reflecting on West Hollywood's 13th annual Transgender Day of Remembrance and discussing the disproportionate rates of violence and discrimination against transgender people of color, both locally and throughout the country. The piece was cross-posted from WeHo News.
On November 17, Cassidy Vickers, a Black transgender woman, was shot and killed in Hollywood. Less than an hour later, another Black transgender woman was shot at (but not harmed) in Plummer Park, the very same site where Transgender Day of Remembrance ceremonies would take place just three days later.
In his essay, Broadus (pictured left) reflects on what it will take to create a safe world for transgender people of color. He writes:
"At the West Hollywood Transgender Day of Remembrance ceremony, it was encouraging to see community, government, and law enforcement work hand in hand toward solving this problem.
It was extremely moving to see that the City Council of West Hollywood was there in force and offered support.
It was impressive that the Council has an appointed body of trans leaders that are empowered to work all year to address these issues and concerns.
This kind of commitment must be present from our government officials. The showing of solidarity by law enforcement was also unprecedented.
While some of us may not have had positive experiences with law enforcement in our lives, the presence of law enforcement officials was powerful. It felt as if they had lost one of their own. The concern and emotions the officers had were almost palpable.
The event was deeply moving. From the performances to the speeches, each moment was a tribute to those whom we have lost and a call to make sure this does not continue. There was such a diverse gathering of people and an immense sense of unity. It was my honor to be a part of it.
TDOR in West Hollywood was a promising example of how everyone from the local community, government officials, and law enforcement must work together.
The message must be sent that there is zero tolerance for these senseless acts -- from the use of anti-transgender slurs to workplace harassment, bullying in schools and family rejection of our youth.
These all have the potential to fuel hostility and lead to violence, in some cases murder. When our society rallies together to raise awareness and ensure that the trans community receives equal protections, the message will be clear: transgender equality is about everyday people who want the same chance as everyone else to earn a living, be safe in their communities, be safe in their schools, and take care of the ones they love.
It will take a combination of education, laws, and policies to even begin to scratch the surface of addressing these horrific tragedies."
GLAAD worked closely with Kylar Broadus and Huffington Post Gay Voices to ensure that the stories of transgender people of color are elevated in the media. We commend Gay Voices and WeHo News for their inclusive coverage, particularly at a time when other media outlets, including ABC and Massachusetts' The Lowell Sun have recently promoted content that is offensive and harmful to the transgender community. GLAAD urges our constituents to leave supportive comments on Huffington Post Gay Voices to encourage the inclusion of the voices and stories of transgender people of color.