100+ gather in Raleigh for Transgender Day of Remembrance

Photo by Carleigh Griffeth/CBS North Carolina
Photo by Carleigh Griffeth/CBS North Carolina

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Sunday night in Raleigh more than 100 people gathered for a vigil honoring Transgender Day of Remembrance.

Dozens of attendees stood side by side in front of the North Carolina State Capitol building lighting candles and reading names of those across the globe who were killed in violence against transgender people.

The vigil also gave the local transgender community a chance to find support in unsure times.

“To be perfectly honest, a lot of us are afraid right now. And it’s precisely, I think, because we’re afraid that we most need to take stock of our situation honestly and forthrightly, but also to look for each other for mutual support,” said Devin Lentz, a transgender woman and the Transgender Initiative Chair with the LGBT Center of Raleigh.

“I’m very concerned that the progress that has been made for the transgender community may be rolled back in education, in the military, in other areas,” said Georgia Springer, a member of PFLAG and the mother of a transgender man.

LGBTQ advocates are worried about President-elect Donald Trump’s promises to rescind President Obama’s executive orders and who Trump will appoint for top jobs.

Meredith College political science professor David McLennan says U.S. Attorney General candidate Jeff Sessions could set the tone for America.

“He’s very conservative and I think the big question is, how would he look at cases of discrimination against transgender or LGBTQ people?” McLennan said.

On a local level, McLennan and advocates say House Bill 2 will remain an issue.

“I would love to see the General Assembly basically come to their senses and realize that HB2 is not only harmful to transgendered North Carolinians, it’s harmful to the state as a whole,” said Lentz.

But, McLennan says even if Roy Cooper wins the race for governor, there’s not much hope that Republican lawmakers will repeal the law.

“It’s unlikely given the results of the legislative races that we’re going to see anything coming from the General Assembly in terms of HB2,” said McLennan.

Advocates agree they have a long road ahead of them, but say they won’t stop pushing until they get where they want to be.

“Each and every transgender individual deserves full civil rights and treatment on an equal basis,” said Springer.

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