Some of the lanterns quite literally crashed and burned. Others soared high into the night sky of Capitol Hill, orange dots drifting away. A night of inspiration and remembrance at Seattle Central Tuesday included speakers, plenty of mingling, and an emotion-filled project to write the names of transgender people who lost their lives in the past year on paper luminaria before setting the lanterns free to drift away over Broadway.
“I can either sit down and say that is none of my business. Or I can say, ‘You are just like me, come stand next to me. I got you,” organizer and Seattle Central student Astro Pittman told the crowd assembled inside a large meeting room at the Broadway school about his motivation for bringing the event together.
The night ended with a candlelight vigil reading of names of the known 24 trans people killed in the United States in the past year and the release of the dozen or so lanterns. The event was one of a handful around Seattle on the annual Trans Day of Remembrance. Speakers on the night said 2016 and the rise of the Trump administration has marked a turning point in transgender progress.
“I have taken all the things that make me me on the inside and I put them on the outside. And I really don’t care what you think about it. Because if enough people love it, then I’m not alone in this. I get to be surrounded by love and community,” Pittman said.
“We all deserve that.”
“At what point do we ignore science to this degree, to deny people’s realities?” Abby Oster, a member of Seattle’s trans community and a tailor and designer at Capitol Hill’s Doghouse Leather asked.
“This is who we are and we’ve got to be able to lean on one another,” she said.
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