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Tacoma recognizes Transgender Day of Remembrance

Activists say while awareness is important, that’s not where the work ends.

TACOMA, Wash. — Tacoma officially acknowledged Transgender Day of Remembrance on Friday for the first time in the city’s history. City workers raised the flag representing the Transgender community over the municipal building.

Astro Pittman, who serves as board member at-large for the Diversity Alliance of the Puget Sound, said it’s necessary to showcase the humanity within the Transgender community, because they say it’s ignored far too often, which leaves them vulnerable across the globe.

“Transgender people are murdered at a higher rate than any other demographic in the world, and that includes people of color, low income, etc,” Pittman said. “Transgender people are much more likely to suffer from systemic violence, fatal violence, and some of the ways that they are killed are absolutely horrific because of the fear and hate and ignorance that exists about the Transgender community.”

Pittman said the tragedy is made even worse because people don’t know about it.

“We don’t talk about it. Nobody knows about it in many cases. If you aren’t a part of the LGBTQ+ community, you might not even know this is a thing that is happening,” they revealed.

Now Tacoma is paying attention. City workers raised the flag representing the Transgender community over the municipal building in honor of Transgender Day of Remembrance 

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But while onlookers cheered, they also took time to remember those who were lost.

“2021 has already seen at least 56 Transgender and gender non-conforming individuals fatally shot or killed or other violent means in the United States,” said Oliver Wells, board chair of the Diversity Alliance of the Puget Sound. “The majority were Black and Latinx Transgender women. The Pacific Northwest has already seen five and Washington has already seen two.”

Pittman and Wells are now calling on the community to push beyond just being aware, and work towards making sure people like them are truly cared for.

“When you hear someone say something transphobic, when you hear someone saying something racist, you need to stand up for your community. You need to stand up and say something against these things. These things are not jokes,” Wells said.

“Each of us as individuals has an opportunity to be more present in the way that we stand with the Transgender community, and give them the community that they might be missing, never had, and desperately need,” Pittman said.

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