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Milwaukee LGBTQ+ community remembers lives lost in Trans Day of Remembrance events

"Your opinions do not get to erase people’s existence," said Transgender advocate, Akari Wilder.
Posted at 6:08 AM, Nov 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-21 07:08:41-05

MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee LGBTQ+ members and allies came together on Sunday to remember the lives of family and friends taken too soon.

National Trans Day of Remembrance offers a day to lift up the names of Transgender people who died from violence, something that members of the community say they see far too often.

“The LGBTQ community here in Milwaukee has lost some really, really influential people in the community,” said Elle Halo, a board member at non-profit organization Diverse & Resilient.

Halo says there is a generational fear of dangerous things happening to Transgender people who live what others deem to be a “societally unacceptable life.”

It's a fear that showed face Saturday night in Colorado Springs, where a mass shootingtook place at a Trans remembrance event hosted at an LGBTQ club.

The organizer of Milwaukee’s event, Akari Wilder, says waking up to that news was horrifying.

“That’s something that in my Black, Trans body, I feel on the daily when we have events like this.”

Hosted at This Is It! the oldest gay bar in the Midwest, Sunday’s event in Milwaukee featured a vigil and a Trans entertainer showcase.

Leaders there say the goal was to provide a safe space for everyone.

“We just want to reiterate to people that we know, we’re listening,” said Darnell Watson, General Manager of This Is It! “And even today we made sure to put on some extra staff, make sure there’s extra people on. We don’t want to cancel an event like this out of fear or worry, but we also don’t want to negate it and not think about it.”

Transgender advocates say, at the core of it all, they want the chance to live their lives the way they are, without retaliation.

“I really feel like it’s only those bigoted few that really care and we have to call those people out,” said Halo.

Wilder agrees. “Regardless of how people feel about that, people deserve to be here and your feelings and your opinions do not get to erase people’s existences.”

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