News Article

Transgender day of Remembrance Vigil

Student Toby Axel talks about the vigil held on Parkers Piece for the transgender day of remembrance recently.

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My grief lies all within, and these external manners of lament are merely shadows to the unseen grief that swells with silence in the tortured soul. – William Shakespeare

On the 20th of November I conducted a vigil on Parkers’ Piece for the Transgender day of remembrance. It was a moving event due to the sheer number of students that turned out to support the cause. We started the vigil, all holding tea lights, in a circle. As I read out the names it shocked me and many others how many of the people murdered came from Brazil. The causes too were appalling, one woman was partially scalped, had signs of torture and lacerations to the face. Another person was killed by multiple stab wounds, tied with a rope to a block of concrete and thrown in pond. It’s astonishing that people could do such things to another human being!

I read a poem about transgender issues called HIR and then shared my experiences of how transphobia has affected me. People then shared their experience of LGBT* hate crime. For a modern day society that is meant to have equality laws and policies in place an astonishing amount of hate crime still takes place especially towards the younger generations of LGBT people, but could that be mainly due to ignorance? And if so why isn't someone tackling that issue?

We drew the night to a close by reading rainbow prayers that I wrote myself and then went for a social at the Bakers.

The event was covered by Cambridge news in a way that I appreciate so much. They gave the facts and quoted me and didn't give any biased comments or opinions.

It was amazing to see such a great turn out. It touched my heart to know that other people cared. I thank everyone that came along and anyone who spoke. I also thank the people who supported me while organising this event.


1 in 12000 people identify as Trans* in the UK on average.

Approximately 20000 people study at Anglia Ruskin University.

This year 238 people were murdered internationally for not fitting the gender binary.


Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans*

Trans* is an umbrella term for the following:

Transsexual - A term for people whose gender identity is different from their assigned sex at birth. Often transsexual people alter or wish to alter their bodies through hormones or surgery in order to make it match their gender identity.

Transgender – An umbrella term for people whose gender identity, expression or behavior is different from those typically associated with their assigned sex at birth, including but not limited to transsexuals, cross-dressers, androgynous people, genderqueer, and gender non-conforming people. Transgender is a broad term.


Alexander Rider
8:03pm on 28 Nov 13 Such a great article, and I am happy that I was able to attend to show solidarity and support for what I would argue is one of the most important events of the calendar. I wish to extend my thanks as the LGBT+ Society Communications Officer to everyone that attended the vigil, and to Toby for his confidence to publicly discuss such a sensitive topic with dignity and respect that every person rightfully deserves!
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