Transgender flag to be raised above Civic Centre

Published Monday, 18th November 2019

Transgender flag, on flag pole at Civic Centre

The transgender flag will be hoisted outside Southend Civic Centre next week to mark Transgender Day of Remembrance.

The Mayor of Southend, Cllr John Lamb, will address attendees at an informal ceremony at 11am on 20 November before raising the flag at the ceremonial flagpole by the Civic Centre North car park.

Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) is an annual observance on November 20 that honours the memory of the transgender people whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence.

It was started in 1999 by transgender advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith as a vigil to honour the memory of Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was killed in 1998.

The vigil commemorated all the transgender people lost to violence since Rita Hester's death, and began an important tradition.

Ali Griffin, chief executive of Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, said: “We have a large and vibrant trans community in Southend and I welcome this opportunity to come together and remember those across the world who have lost their lives as a result of hate and bigotry.

“Raising the flag is a symbol of our solidarity with our trans community, united in hope for a more accepting, tolerant and compassionate world where everyone can live peacefully as themselves.”

Anette Basham, chair of Transpire - a voluntary community group supporting people who identify as trans – said:

“All hate crime has risen over the UK in the past few years and transgender hate crime has seen the biggest rise of all, with the number of incidents reported to police rising by 81%. These figures are likely to represent just the tip of the iceberg as Stonewall's research indicates four in five anti-LGBT hate crimes go unreported. It is estimated that at least two in five trans people have experienced a hate crime or incident because of their gender identity in the last year.

“It is vitally important that organizations and individuals take a visible stance against transphobic prejudice and support trans people in the face of such widespread abuse.”

Everyone is welcome to attend.