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Trans community comes together to remember those murdered in trans-phobic incidents

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PORTLAND (WGME) - The trans community came together for a special vigil in Portland's Monument Square Sunday night.

The annual "Transgender Day of Remembrance" remembers those who were murdered in trans-phobic incidents and organizers hope it raises awareness about the high rates of violence transgender people face in the United States and worldwide.

"Oftentimes these people die in ways where they’re not going to be properly memorialized by their local community," said Quinn Gormley, executive director of Maine TransNet and organizer of the event. "So we want to make sure they’re remembered and the violence that cost them their life is something we’re actively working to stop."

According to the Trans Murder Monitoring Project, 325 trans people died between October 1, 2016 and September 30, 2017. That number is up from the same reporting period in 2016 (295) and 2015 (242).

"When I saw the list and I saw how long it was I couldn’t help but weep," said Skyler Keiter, a speaker at the event. "I pray every day that we will live in the world where this senseless violence will end and people will be loved and accepted for who they are as their true authentic selves."

Multiple speakers read the names of all 325 victims, 25 of which were in the United States.

"That's the best motivation to continue the fight so to speak to go to these demonstrations and to never lose hope," said Toby Wayand, who attended the vigil.

The Trans Day of Remembrance was first held in Massachusetts in 1999 following a murder of a trans woman.

On Monday, two more vigils will happen in both Augusta and Bangor to remember the lives lost.

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