SOFFAs of east Tennessee Transgenders, with support of KnoxBoyz and KnoxGirlz of East Tennessee, has announced they will be hosting a local public Transgender Day of Remembrance event (TDoR) on Tuesday, November 20, 2012. The event will be located on the grounds of Alternative Counseling Center, 3105 Essary Dr, Knoxville TN 37918, beginning at 7:30pm.
The Transgender Day of Remembrance was set aside to memorialize those who were killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice.
The event is held in November to honor Rita Hester, whose murder on November 28th, 1998 kicked off the Remembering Our Dead web project and a San Francisco candlelight vigil in early 1999. Due to the interest in both the web site and that original vigil, it was decided that an annual memorial to those killed due to anti-transgender violence or prejudice was necessary to help spread information about these deaths. – Gwendolyn Ann Smith
This is a solemn event remembering those who lost their lives due to Transphobia turned violent, it is also a time to reflect on efforts to reduce those numbers each year. A traditional candle memorial ceremony for each lost soul will be conducted between building 1 and 2, weather permitting. If rain is disruptive then the ceremony will be held on the sheltered porch. Afterward attendees are invited to share warm beverages inside building 1 for a social hour. This will be an opportunity for allies to meet leaders of the long standing east Tennessee Trans supporting groups face-to-face and to share in strengthening camaraderie across all community segments in the area
SOFFA is an acronym that means Significant Others, Friends, Family, and Allies, and was originally adopted by the Gay and Lesbian communities to recognize supportive non-homosexuals. In the Transgender community SOFFAs includes all supportive persons who are not themselves Transgender, including gay, lesbian, bisexual, and heterosexual cisgender persons. That umbrella term includes partners, spouses, lovers, family members, friends, co-workers, clergy, health care providers, educators, and any other person who supports acceptance and safe recognition of Transgender persons.
SOFFAs of east Tennessee Transgenders began as a support group for spouses and partners of transitioning Transgender persons who belonged to KnoxBoyz and KnoxGirlz, now it is open to all persons who support Transgender residents of of the region. The SOFFA group leadership welcomes all supportive persons to join their yahoogroup or Facebook page to show their support for those with Transgender identities.
KnoxBoyz, the oldest continuous Trans support group in east Tennessee, has been holding a private Knoxville TDoR every year since 2000. Most years attendees were only Knoxville Trans Men and Women, some years clergy from local congregations gathered with the group leadership to remember those lost to transphobic hate. KnoxGirlz began participating as a group in 2009. In 2010 and 2011 the Knoxville and Maryville PFLAGs held public TDoRs that drew local attention to the horrors of Transphobic violence yet omitted organized participation or recognition of both Trans support groups so private TDoRs were also held. In an effort to create strong unity across the full spectrum of allies/SOFFAs and Transgender persons, to create strength with supportive love, KnoxBoyz and KnoxGirlz has chosen to open their arms wide in welcoming camaraderie to all supportive people and welcoming congregations.
Organizers of this Transgender Day of Remembrance ask that Saroj Chand, owner of Alternative Counselor Center, be recognized and thanked for giving permission for use of her property even though she will be away for a professional conference.