The names of trans and gender non-conforming individuals who died over the last year were read out during the serviceBeth Ambler with permission for Varsity

Students held a remembrance service to mark Transgender Day of Remembrance yesterday (20/11), in honour of transgender people who lost their lives in the past year.

Hosted at St Catharine’s College by JCR LGBTQ+ officers and the SU LGBT+ campaign, the event was open to Cambridge students and locals.

During the service, the names of transgender and gender non-conforming individuals who died over the last year were read out by attendees. The list read out was 15 pages long and included 334 names.

The service featured a two-minute silence for those who had lost their lives. Attendees were also able to give readings during the event, with some sharing personal reflections and others reading works of poetry and literature.

One speaker declared it was a “dark time to be trans” in the UK. Another stated: “We are not an issue to be debated.”

Transgender Day of Remembrance is observed annually on the 20th of November to remember transgender people who have been lost in the last year, particularly those murdered in transphobic attacks.

The day was established over twenty years ago in memory of Rita Hester, a Black transgender woman who was murdered in Massachusetts, USA, and is now observed worldwide.

Describing the aims of the service, Beth, the College LGBTQ+ officer and one of the event’s organisers, told Varsity: “We hope that this service will be a space for the trans community to mourn those we have lost.”

“There is so much more work to be done to make our university, country and world a place where we won’t need to organise another event like this again,” Beth continued.


Mountain View

Hundreds walk out of lectures in pro-Palestinian protest

Speaking about the need for such a service, they said: “In February of this year, the murder of Brianna Ghey — a 16-year-old trans girl from Warrington — was a harsh awakening for many of the transphobic violence that is alive and well in our country today, and is the reason why we still have a need for services like these in 2023.”

“The death of Brianna — and the deaths of all the other 300 trans people who have been murdered worldwide in the last year — did not happen in a vacuum. They are a result of a wider culture that comes from the top of the government that does not respect the existence of transgender individuals and does not care about their safety,” Beth continued.

Beth finished by saying: “ When trans lives and existence are allowed to be up for debate, this puts real trans people — including students at this university — at risk.”

A Transgender Day of Remembrance vigil was also held at Sidney Sussex College yesterday evening.