Doctor Rachel Levine, the highest-ranking openly transgender public official in the United States, participated in two candlelight vigils in observance of the Transgender Day of Remembrance.
The first was at Unitarian Universalist Church in Lancaster. The second was outside of the Capitol. Both events include a candlelight vigil in memory of every transgender person murdered in the previous year, and a reading of each of the victims’ names.
“It could be my name someone’s reading next year,” Cassidy Frazee, who is transgender and attended the vigil, said.
Members of the LGBT and transgender community said they just want to tell their story.
“It makes a difference. you know it’s awfully easy to hate somebody whose story you don’t know, but if you know that story you can somewhat empathize with that and i think that changes the whole complexion of things,” Joanne Carroll, the president of TransCentral PA, said.
But they said change is still far away.
“I think tolerance is the only way it’s going to happen. People have to realize that bigotry and hatred are no good no matter who it’s against,” Carroll said.
To any one struggling, this community has a message.
“Find a way to be honest and true with yourself and realize that being who you are meant to be, not who you’re pretending to be is the best thing to do,” Frazee said.
“We are strong, and we are resilient together. Our community has grit, and we will persevere,” Levine said.
Doctor Levine said for more change to happen, more comprehensive non-discrimination legislation that includes LGBT individuals is needed in Pennsylvania.