Denton Vigil Honors Transgender Murder Victims

According to the Human Rights Campaign, 29 transgender people were murdered in the United States last year

Supporters of Denton's transgender community are remembering victims of violence. According to the Human Rights Campaign, 29 transgender people were murdered in the United States last year. Many of them were victims of hate crimes.

One woman said the numbers showed the world is still a dangerous place.

Lauren Monroe knew exactly who she was at a young age, but coming out was a difficult process.

"Even as a child, the things that make up a transgender identity were always present,"Monroe said.

But fully embracing it didn't happen until eight years ago.

"This is not always an easy world to live in for somebody who's transgender," she said.

An event Tuesday in Denton highlights that. A vigil, organized by several groups which serve as LGBT advocates, remembers transgender murder victims.

"I seldom go," Monroe said. "It's a heavy, heavy day."

In the transgender community, it hits home. According to the Human Rights Campaign, 22 transgender people have been killed in the U.S. in 2018. Nicole Hall, a pioneer in Texas' transgender community, was killed in Dallas in May. Days earlier, another transgender woman was killed during a robbery in her apartment.

"It really does become personal," Monroe said. "You can imagine yourself in that situation."

According to the U.S. Transgender Survey, conducted in 2015, nearly half of the almost 28,000 respondents said they'd been verbally harassed. One in 10 said they'd been physically attacked -- because of who they are.

"There's a certain level of fear associated with walking around knowing that somebody might pose a danger to you," Monroe said.

Monroe said the current political climate adds to that fear. Though awareness and acceptance of transgender people has grown, the number of victims is unsettling.

"It's not even a choice to put myself in their shoes," she said. "I'm in their shoes. It's something that happens with painful frequency."

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