Courtesy NYC Commission of Human Rights
They city’s Commission on Human Rights holds an Elmhurst vigil to honor transgender individuals lost to violence and hate in 2016.
By Bill Parry

More than 150 LGBT advocates and local faith leaders joined city Commission on Human Rights Commissioner Carmelyn P. Malalis for a vigil last week to remember the 26 transgender individuals murdered in 2016, the most violent year on record in the city for the transgender community.

The event, held on Baxter Street in Elmhurst, marked “Transgender Week of Remembrance” and featured prayers for the victims and a reading of their names, testimonies by prominent transgender activists, and a speech by Malalis doubling down on the city’s commitment to fight bigotry and discrimination against transgender New Yorkers.

“Violence and hate have no place in New York City,” Malalis said. “This week as we remember the 26 transgender individuals we have lost this year, I call on every New Yorker to stand up against hatred, fear, discrimination and do their part to protect the most vulnerable amongst us.”

This year the Commission on Human Rights has stepped up investigations into gender identity discrimination to help all those who have been victimized in the workplace, in housing, and public spaces just for being transgender. More than 50,000 transgender individuals call New York City home and many live in Jackson Heights and Elmhurst.

“Now more than ever, we must band together as one city and protect our friends, family, and neighbors from violence,” Malalis said. “If you witness discrimination, say something, intervene, or call for help. Everyone deserves respect and dignity, and has a right to be free from violence. Together, we can make sure that every New Yorker feels safe and protected.”

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparry@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4538.

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