The Q Center ended its Transgender Awareness Week activities on Saturday, with a vigil honoring transgender lives lost in 2021.
The week of action, held from Nov. 14 to Nov. 20, included activities such as chalking the Spine and the painting of the doors of the Q Center with the colors of the transgender flag. Saturday’s vigil, held at the Newing College fire pit, took place on the Transgender Day of Remembrance — a day meant to memorialize those murdered as a result of transphobia.
As students sat around the fire pit, they listened to a eulogy delivered by Soledad Arianna Pérez, president of SHADES and co-director of Transcend — “a peer-led social group for transgender and gender-expansive students,” according to the Q Center page on the BU website — and a senior majoring in Spanish.
“Today is a day of mourning in the trans community,” Pérez said. “Journalists are calling 2021 the deadliest year for trans people, with 44 trans lives lost last year, it has [now] increased to 46.”
Pérez said the demographics of trans people murdered were disproportionately people of color, accounting for 92 percent of deaths this year. As president of SHADES, an on-campus group created for LGBTQ+ students of color, she discussed the importance of her own role and the presence of spaces for transgender students of color.
“Being a Hispanic trans woman myself, my heart shattered reading the names and eulogies of my trans siblings,” Pérez said. “I lived so much of my life in fear of how the world treats Black and Hispanic trans women. There was a time I was too scared to leave my dorm. But being the president of SHADES I’ve spent countless hours creating a space that [uplifts] trans people of color. I refuse to feel powerless and scared.”
Organizers then read aloud the names of the 46 lives lost at the time of the event in the transgender community in 2021, before holding a moment of silence in their remembrance.
“We are here to remember their names,“ Pérez said. “Remember the lives they lived. Remember their courage and joy, and remember that they were all people. People that loved and were loved by others. Remember the trans lives gone but never forgotten.”
Gabriel La Scala, a member of Transcend and undeclared freshman who attended the event, said the event was important because it drew attention to an issue that often goes underreported.
“As a transgender student here, I think it’s really important to have this ceremony available on campus,” La Scala said. “Especially because trans violence is a huge issue that the media tends to ignore, and I have been going to vigils for years, so I was really grateful that the University, through … Transcend and the Q Center, has done something like this.”
Pérez said the event held personal significance to her, as a Hispanic trans woman, and that she hoped others could see her as a source of strength.
“I was able to use that personal connection to draw strength because I know my visibility is important for other trans people of color to not be scared,” Pérez said. “I know that my visibility is important for other trans women to not be scared, and I want to do everything in my power to uplift voices of my community that are marginalized and pushed aside and scared and ignored.”