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WATCH: Highland Pride marks Trans Day of Remembrance with vigils in Inverness and Thurso


By Andrew Henderson

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Monday evening saw the Highland LGBTQ+ community come together to pay their respects to trans people who have been killed over the last 12 months.

The gathering took place outside Eden Court. Picture: James Mackenzie.
The gathering took place outside Eden Court. Picture: James Mackenzie.

Vigils were held in both Inverness and Thurso to mark Trans Day of Remembrance on November 20, a day to memorialise those who have lost their lives to transphobic violence.

As part of the Inverness event, politicians Emma Roddick MSP and Councillor Sarah Fanet made speeches before a list of every recorded trans person who has been killed between October 2022 and September 2023 was read out – featuring 392 names, meaning on average more than one trans person is killed every day around the world.

Organiser and Highland Pride secretary Roz White was pleased to see so many people attending to pay their respects, but acknowledged that the number of names they had to read out shows the level of needless hate trans people are dealing with on a daily basis.

"We always hope that it will be fewer next year, and we hope that we will get to a point where it's not even necessary to have this day in the future," she said.

"We come here and read out the names year after year, and the fact that Trans Day of Remembrance has been going for a number of years suggests that the trans issue – as some people see it – is not going away.

"You can't just kill us all off and suddenly we won't be here anymore. Trans people have always been here, you only have to look through unfiltered history to see that there always has been and always will be trans people.

"Stop killing us, and we can fade quite happily into society and go to work, pay our taxes and be useful, beneficial members of society wherever that may be.

"It's no skin off anyone else's nose. We're not hurting anyone. I fail to see what the problem is that requires 392 people to lose their lives over the last 12 months.

One attendee was draped in the transgender flag. Picture: James Mackenzie
One attendee was draped in the transgender flag. Picture: James Mackenzie

"It baffles me completely, I don't understand it at all, but I will continue to read these names out year after year. I'm not going anywhere, my trans friends aren't going anywhere."

Some of the more poignant moments of the evening came when people were listed without a name being known.

"Even people who agreed to read out the names were struck by that – they didn't even ask for a name," White continued.

"That's just shocking. It's so callous and cruel, because it labels people as what they are rather than who they are, and it dehumanises them by just not bothering with their name.

Candles were lit in memory of those who have died. Picture: James Mackenzie
Candles were lit in memory of those who have died. Picture: James Mackenzie

"It's horrible, small and petty, but it has such an impact. A lot of people saw 'name unknown' and said it was awful, appalling.

"It's a never-ending battle. As I and a number of others have said, I would dearly love to come along one year and say there are no names.

"We could have read out a lot more information about exactly what happened to each person, but there were enough people in tears as it was – plus on a practical level, it would have taken twice as long and it probably would have made people feel quite ill."

Although often vilified, many LGBTQ+ people will say they would prefer to blend in to every day life.

Councillor Sarah Fanet was one of the attendees, and made a speech early in the event. Picture: James Mackenzie
Councillor Sarah Fanet was one of the attendees, and made a speech early in the event. Picture: James Mackenzie

While coming under attack though – both verbal and physical, as the lengthy list of names shows – that is easier said than done, with moments and gatherings like the Trans Day of Remembrance vigils a reminder of the value of community.

"Regardless of where the community is, the importance of the day is to remind people that all around the world people are being murdered for trying to sort out their own lives and live the way they absolutely have to," White added.

"Nobody in their right mind would choose to be trans. Nobody would do it if there was any option other than transitioning to being lonely, miserably, suicide and unable to function in wider society.

"It's not easy, it's not quick, it's certainly not a lifestyle choice – it's a lifestyle necessity.

Highland Pride secretary Roz White reading out the names of the transgender people who were killed in the last year. Picture: James Mackenzie
Highland Pride secretary Roz White reading out the names of the transgender people who were killed in the last year. Picture: James Mackenzie

"Whether you're in Inverness or New York, it's important that people realise this and that people are reminded that in the last year more than one person on average, somewhere in the world, has been murdered for trying to be themselves.

"They weren't harming anyone else, they weren't doing anything illegal or intrusive, they were just trying to live their lives.

"Someone else took it upon themselves to decide that they didn't like that, and that person had to die. Come on world, have we not got past that yet?"

See the full list of names remembered at the vigil in our searchable database below


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