On Tuesday, November 20, Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary will celebrate the 9th Annual Transgender Day of Remembrance with a day of campus events culminating in an ecumenical candlelight memorial service at 7:00 p.m. in Caldwell Chapel. A reception in Fellowship Hall will follow the service. The service and reception are free and open to the public. The Transgender Day of Remembrance is a national memorial project that honors human beings slain during the past year because of their unconventional gender.
The celebration will be one of many events around the country planned to focus attention on threats many transgender people live with every day. The Seminary event is being planned jointly by the Women’s Center at LPTS and local organizations representing the transgendered community in Louisville. Events on campus will include a brief morning prayer vigil at 8:00 a.m., and a lunch-hour presentation on “Transgender 101: Basic Terms and Concepts” by local activist Beth Harrison-Prado. Organizers have asked Seminary faculty to participate by beginning classes throughout the day with a minute of silence to remember the dead.
This year marks the Seminary’s fifth year of celebrating the Transgender Day of Remembrance. The national observance began in 1999 to honor Rita Hester, a transgendered African-American woman murdered in Boston on November 28, 1998. The observance has since spread to cities and towns across the nation. Louisville Seminary’s observance owes much to the commitment of former Women’s Center student coordinator Mary Sue Barnett, who organized a small celebration in 2002 in response to an item in a newsletter.
“One of the Women’s Center’s core commitments is speaking out against violence against women,” says current Acting Director Heather Thiessen. “Speaking out against violence against transgender people extends that commitment. Violence suggests that somehow some people’s lives don’t matter. We are here to say that every life matters, that every life is precious to God.”
For more information about these events, contact Courtney J. Hoekstra.
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