Transgender Americans are among the most misunderstood of citizens.
Also the most brutalized and murdered.
Dan Grayson Cordero, an art major, organized a vigil aided by Danielle Eldridge and Nathaniel Park in support of transgender rights and called for a gentler treatment of transgender men and women. He read a lengthy list of transgender murder victims in the United States to bring attention to the high levels of violence suffered by the transgender community.
Cordero used his personal knowledge and experiences to speak to attendees about what it is to be transgender.
“Assault is a big issue in our society,” he said. “There is this big misconception that trans women fall along the lines of kind of like a drag queen image. They picture men in dresses and that’s perpetuated by the media and the misconception in movies and shows and it’s not true. These women are inherently women.”
Participants lit candles in remembrance of the lives of transgender citizens that were lost. A poster of with blue, pink and white represented the colors of the transgender community.
Eldridge, a journalism major and co-coordinator of the event, said Cordero is a brilliant and courageous leader.
“Dan is really good about being a spokesperson for his community,” she said. “He has been fortunate and uses it as a platform to speak out to those who aren’t as fortunate as him. So many of the stories he shared don’t get to be told. It is important to recognize they are more important than a headline or a statistic.”
Remembrance Day was celebrated to bring an educated perspective to SWC students and to give voice to those facing discrimination in the transgender community, said Eldridge. Former SWC student Julie Lizarraga said she identifies herself as transgender. She said she admires Cordero greatly.
“He knew the right words to say,” Lizarraga said. “Seeing the names (of murder victims) on the board, the photographs and learning exactly how they died made me realize what people like us have to go through to survive.”