City raises flag to recognize Trans Day of Remembrance

City Hall observed Trans Day of Remembrance today with a small ceremonial flag raising.

Trans Day of Remembrance falls on Nov. 20, and recognizes and honours trans people who have died due to transphobia.

The ceremony in Timmins on Monday afternoon was moved inside due to cold and blowing snow, but council chambers hosted the speakers and a full house of young supporters.

The shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs in which five people were killed and 17 injured over the weekend was not far from anyone’s thoughts as the ceremony started and organizers acknowledged the fresh impact of violence against the 2SLGBTQ+ community.

Mayor Michelle Boileau spoke about how, in the face of news like the shooting, coming together as a community can give people strength.

“It’s easy to feel helpless, we often don’t know what to do or what we can do, and it can be hard to hold onto hope,” said Boilleau. “Gathering like this together is one of the things we can do.”

Fierté Timmins Pride board member, Kris Guay spoke about the progress within the community that he has seen as a trans man and acknowledged the people who have been lost to transphobic violence, citing the deaths of 389 trans people worldwide between Oct. 1, 2021, and Sept. 30, 2022.

"It’s important to know that this number is likely much larger,” said Guay.

Trans Day of Remembrance was started in 1999 by Gwendolyn Ann Smith, a trans woman and activist, as a memorial for Rita Hester, who was killed in her home in 1998.

Since that first year, Trans Day of Remembrance has been observed in more than 185 cities in 20 countries.

Guay said that if people are willing to admit when they don’t know the answers and are willing to learn, moving forward gets easier.

“There are always going to be ignorant people in small communities but times are changing,” said Guay. “Educating and speaking up for people who don’t have a voice is a step in the right direction.”

While the weather prevented a ceremony at the flag poles outside city hall, the flag is up and will fly for the remainder of the week.

Amanda Rabski-McColl, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, TimminsToday.com