Southeast Alaska LBTQ+ Alliance Board Chair JoLynn Shriber reads a list the names of killed transgender people as Thunder Mountain High School students Kyla Stevens, center, and Laila Williams hold flags in the wind during a transgender remembrance at Marine Park on Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Southeast Alaska LBTQ+ Alliance Board Chair JoLynn Shriber reads a list the names of killed transgender people as Thunder Mountain High School students Kyla Stevens, center, and Laila Williams hold flags in the wind during a transgender remembrance at Marine Park on Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Juneau remembers transgender lives lost this year

At least 22 were killed in the U.S. in 2019.

Fewer than a dozen people gathered to remember at least 311 people.

Wednesday was Transgender Day of Remembrance, and it was observed in Juneau with a small candlelight vigil at the Downtown Marine Park Pavilion.

Transgender Day of Remembrance started 21 years ago, according to Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, as a way of remembering members of a community who are disproportionately targeted for violence. Transgender women were found to be 1.6 times more likely to experience physical violence and sexual violence as well as 1.4 times more likely to experience hate violence in public places compared to other hate crime victims and survivors, according to the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs.

In 2019, 22 transgender or gender non-conforming people have been killed, according to the Human Rights Campaign. At least 311 transgender or gender non-conforming people were killed worldwide between Oct. 1, 2018 and Sept. 30, 2019, according to the Trans Murder Monitoring project of the Berlin-based group Transrespect versus Transphobia Worldwide.

The reason “at least” is used when discussing these figures is that some countries do not track violence against transgender people and people are sometimes misgendered after death, said JoLynn Shriber, board chair for Southeast Alaska LGBTQ+ Alliance, who organized Juneau’s Transgender Day of Remembrance event.

“There’s a lot of people who aren’t accounted for,” Shriber said.

[Transgender ban means uncertainty for Juneau LGBTQ+ community]

The Juneau event included reading the names of the 22 killed transgender people from the U.S.

While the event wasn’t well attended —something Shriber partly attributed to windy, rainy weather and an outdoor venue — Shriber said people reached out to send messages of support or express regret they were unable to attend.

“It wasn’t wasted at all,” Shriber said. “It’s such a somber event, but it’s refreshing to have these conversations.”

She said anyone interested in volunteering with SEAGLA can reach out by emailing akseagla@gmail.com or by Facebook.

For 17-year-old Laila Williams, it was her first time attending a public LGBTQ+ event. Williams said she identifies as questioning.

“It honestly fills me with pride,” Williams said. “It’s nice to know someone has my back.”

[Juneau residents observe Transgender Day of Remembrance]

Williams, who moved from Anchorage to Juneau in May, said she was struck by the supportive community in the capital city.

“Down here everyone’s more accepting,” Williams said.

Both Shriber and Williams expressed guarded optimism that acceptance will grow and that things are getting better.

“I really think it is,” Williams said.


• Contact reporter Ben Hohenstatt at (907)523-2243 or bhohenstatt@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @BenHohenstatt.Concer


More in News

It's a police car until you look closely and see the details don't quite match. (Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Friday, Jan. 21, 2022

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

A king salmon on a line in Southeast Alaska gets pulled toward the net. The 2020 SeaBank report calls industrial logging and climate change “double jeopardy for salmon.” 
(Courtesy Photo / Bjorn Dihle)
SalmonState: ‘Alaska’s untold secret’ — The dividends paid by Southeast Alaska’s ‘Seabank’

By Mary Catharine Martin Wild salmon. Clean water. Clean air. Carbon storage.… Continue reading

This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, yellow, emerging from the surface of cells, blue/pink, cultured in the lab. Also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus causes COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, NIAID-RML
COVID at a Glance for Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022

Numbers come from reports from the City and Borough of Juneau Emergency… Continue reading

This photo shows the Alaska State Capitol. A commission tasked with reviewing legislative pay on Tuesday voted to raise the annual salary for Alaska lawmakers but to restrict the daily allowance lawmakers can receive. The changes will go forward unless the Legislature expressly rejects them. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire file)
State lawmakers face proposed salary hike, allowance limits

A commission tasked with reviewing legislative pay on Tuesday voted to raise… Continue reading

It's a police car until you look closely and see the details don't quite match. (Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Goldbelt Transportation and Allen Marine Tours will contract with the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities to provide ferry service through the Southeast for the remainder of the winter, according to a news release. (Courtesy photo / Goldbelt Transportation)
Goldbelt, Allen Marine pick up winter ferry contracts

Contracts were signed this January for several winter runs to Southeast communities.

Donated blood is prepared for storage and eventual transport at the Blood Bank of Alaska's Juneau location. There is a statewide shortage of donated blood. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)
‘National blood crisis’ presents challenges in Alaska

Donation centers contend with COVID, weather and other disruptions as they work to stock hospitals.

Most Read