Transgender Day of Remembrance Honors the Fullness of Lives Lost

During the Transgender Day of Remembrance memorial service Friday morning, ChristianaCare’s PRIDE Employee Resource Group (ERG) honored transgender people who lost their lives to anti-transgender violence in the past 12 months and called upon caregivers to celebrate the humanity inside everyone.

Sixty-seven names were read aloud as a photo of each person flashed on the large screen and speakers shared a few words about who they were before their death. The list included one person from Delaware and several from Pennsylvania.

Click here for more information about LGBTQ+ health initiatives at ChristianaCare.

Those who died included a coffee barista, a coach, a dancer and a former law enforcement officer. Each deceased person was honored with the placement of a memorial flag.

“We are here to affirm them to humanize and memorialize each one,” said Stephen Dutton, manager of Pastoral Services.

Delaware state Sen. Sarah McBride, who became the first openly transgender state senator in American history when she was elected in November 2020, encouraged attendees to honor the fullness of these lives lost and recognize the role everyone plays in reducing anti-transgender violence.

Delaware Sen. Sarah McBride

“I am honored to be here at ChristianaCare, an institution so committed to ensuring that everyone can live their lives for as long and as fully as possible,” McBride said.

“Every time we read a name, we have to remember that behind that name was a full human being — a person filled with hopes and dreams and aspirations, a person who boldly dared to live their life openly, to declare their authenticity before the world, only to have that fact, in some form or fashion, used against them and their own life.”

This was the second Transgender Day of Remembrance held at ChristianaCare by the PRIDE ERG. The national recognition was started in 1999 by transgender advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith as a vigil to honor the memory of Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was killed in 1998.

“This day, we mourn our losses and honor our precious dead,” said Deb Houghton, a member of the PRIDE ERG. “Tomorrow, and every other day, we shall continue to fight for the living.”