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LGBTQ community to honour 50th anniversary of Stonewall Riots

A community event is looking to inform and raise awareness of people who identify as transgender while also paying their respects to the people who lead the charge for LGBTQ rights.

The Stonewall Vigil and Transmemorial Museum will be taking place at Lakeland College on November 20 in honour of the Stonewall Riots. The Stonewall Protests occurred in 1969 in Greenwich Village neighbourhood in New York City during a police raid of one of the city’s gay bars. 

Organizer William Yap says the vigil will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the protests with a moment of silence every hour to pay respects to LGBTQ lives lost through violence and suicide.

“It’s what sparked and lead the movement for gay rights, first in the United States but then spread up to Canada. We need to thank those that lead the fight before us.”

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The event will have exhibit booths with information and interactive items which Yap says will help answer the questions people have about the daily lives of transgender people.

“There will be some information for people to look at and realize that transgenderism isn’t something new, it’s been around for a while and it will be an enlightening piece. The main thing I want for people to see is the booth for tools that transgender people use on a daily basis.” 

Yap hopes the event will help normalize transgender and non-binary gender identities in the community.

“There’s so much confusion and put away information about the trans identity. It’s important for people to realize and get that lightbulb moment of these people are human too and they want to be treated as their authentic selves.”

The event begins at 7 p.m. and runs until 10 p.m. at Lakeland College on November 20. Transgender Day of Remembrance is an observance that falls on November 20 and memorializes the victims of transphobic violence.

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