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Dayton Joins National Transgender Day Of Remembrance

Jerry Kenney
Joshua (G2) Estepp (left) and Dan Miyake stand beneath 11 transgender flags that are flying this week on Courthouse Square in Dayton. The Tansgender Day of Remembrance will mark the national Transgender Awareness Week.

On Friday night, a group will gather on Courthouse Square in Dayton to remember people whose lives have been lost to “anti-transgender violence.” 

This is the first year Dayton has joined the national Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR). The event will begin at 7 p.m. A proclamation from Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley  will be read then several transgender speakers will address the crowd, including Dan Miyake of Dayton.

“What’s particularly disturbing is the huge percentage of trans people who have experienced violence, people of color. African American trans women are [a] far higher risk to being attacked violently," he says.

Violence against transgender people is the focus of the event, but support for LGBT youth and those who have lost their lives to suicide will also be addressed. During a candlelight vigil speakers call out names from around the world of those who have lost their lives to violence or suicide. Those in attendance will also be able to submit the names of loved ones they have lost.

Miyake says when he told friends and family his intention to live as a man, he was surprised by the outpouring of support, but he says his experience is "the exception and not the rule." He offers this advice for struggling LGBT youth.

“Find some kind of community whether it be a church, an LGBT group in your city, find other people that understand and can support you. No matter what you’re going through, you’re not alone.”

In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that LGBT youth are more likely than their straight peers to commit suicide.

Local TDOR co-organizer, Joshua Estepp, who identifies as genderqueer and prefers the moniker "G2" says that another purpose of the event, is to educate.

“Ignorance leads to fear and that fear leads to hatred and that hatred leads to violence," he says. "So if I can short track that with curing the ignorance through education maybe we can prevent this stuff from happening in the future."

Following the vigil, there will be an trans forum, described as a "safe space" to discuss trans issues. It will take place at 8:30 p.m. on the 6th floor of the nearby Key Bank building.

The national TDOR was founded in 1998 by graphic designer, columnist, and activist, Gwendolyn Ann Smith. It started as a way to honor Rita Hester, a trans-gender African-American woman who was murdered in Allston Massachusetts.

Jerry Kenney was introduced to WYSO by a friend and within a year of first tuning in became an avid listener and supporter. He began volunteering at the station in 1991 and began hosting Alpha Rhythms in February of 1992. Jerry joined the WYSO staff in 2007 as a host of All Things Considered and soon transitioned into hosting Morning Edition. In addition to now hosting All Things Considered, Jerry is the host and producer of WYSO Weekend, WYSO's weekly news and arts magazine. He has also produced several radio dramas for WYSO in collaboration with local theater companies. Jerry has won several Ohio AP awards as well as an award from PRINDI for his work with the WYSO news department. Jerry says that the best part of his job is being able to talk to people in the community and share their experiences with WYSO listeners.