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Just Happens to be LGBT: Transgender Day of Remembrance

Photo: Courtesy photo, License: N/A

Courtesy photo

Lauryn Farris

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That plan has worked well, according to Lauryn Farris, current president of SAGA and a longtime transgender community activist. She says that the most important thing about TDOR is to “celebrate the lives lost by people who were just living as they truly are. Those in the LGB and straight population need to see that too.”

Katy Stewart, the executive director of TENT, the Transgender Education Network of Texas, couldn’t agree more. She makes the point, “What I hope people recognize is that hate crimes against gay men and lesbians aren’t often motivated by their sexual orientation so much as their gender expression, for example, a man who displays more feminine qualities. You don’t have to be trans to experience hate like that.”

Farris adds, “By far, most hate crimes ... are against transwomen of color. Also, the solve rate for murders of transpeople is three to four times less than the general population. Transpeople also have a dramatically high attempted suicide rate.” These points are all supported by research conducted by the National Center for Transgender Equality, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and Human Rights Campaign.

San Antonio’s TDOR is a community-wide event with many groups in attendance. The event is also supported by other congregations, including Madison Square, University and Beacon Hill Presbyterian Churches, and DignitySA, the local LGBT Catholic group. But Hinson entreats all people to attend.

“It’s not only for the religious. We have a variety of people attend every year, and SAGA has members who are not necessarily members of a faith community. We don’t judge anybody.”

A special memorial will also be held this year for one of San Antonio’s most active and beloved trans activists, Michelle Myers, who passed away on June 17. Myers, a successful chemical engineer, was instrumental throughout the LGBT community and touched a number of lives since moving to San Antonio in 2000. Even after suffering a stroke in 2002, she remained engaged, active and always ready to participate anywhere she was needed. The Wednesday before she passed away, I recall seeing her at one of the many Citizens to Be Heard sessions to support others as they spoke before council in support of the NDO. Myers, and all of her trans brothers and sisters who were lost this year, will be sorely missed.

Below is this month’s “I Am” statement. Send your own 100-word statement to currentlyrichard (at) for publication in future “Just Happens to Be LGBT” columns.


Katy Stewart

Born and raised in San Antonio, I graduated from Texas A&M with a Bachelor’s in chemistry and a minor in curriculum and instruction. I have worked as a radio producer, an on-air DJ and in the radio, television and cable advertising field since 1990. My family still owns about 100 acres outside of Boerne, and growing up I fell in love with the Hill Country. I was taught to hunt at the age of 11, but prefer watching and capturing the beauty of wildlife with a camera rather than a gun. My partner and I have been together since 2004 and have three “dogters” (puppy kids). And, I just happen to be LGBT.

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