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LGBTQ community honors transgender people killed in 2018

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Posted at 9:38 PM, Nov 25, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-26 08:42:14-05

A few dozen people sat in silence at Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Waco as they paid their respects to the brothers and sisters they lost in 2018.

Kris Cervantes, the pastor at Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Waco, has hosted the Transgender Day of Remembrance and Resilience Service at her church for the past four years.

"We have more than 300 names to be read today," Cervantes said. "We do that to witness this tragedy, this sorrow of people who lose their lives through nothing that they have any control over or choice over."

Finnigan Jones, executive director of Trans-Cendence International, lives in Dallas and drove to Waco to serve as the keynote speaker for the event.

Trans-Cendnece International is a group that supports transgender people and their loved ones.

"This number that we have tonight is the largest number that we've seen, that I've seen, in 10 years. It's 369 names," Jones said. 

Jones began his transition in 2010. He was moved to tears during this speech, thinking of those like him who were killed for simply being themselves.

"It baffles my mind that we're supposed to be one community and we're not," Jones said. "The youngest I ever saw on this list was an 8-year-old."

For years, he was worried he would know someone on the list. In 2018, it happened.

"This year I did," Jones said. "Her name was Brooklyn in Oklahoma. Brooklyn BreYanna Stevenson, 21 years old. She was one of ours."

Jones fought for a seat in the Texas House of Representatives this year. He didn't win, but he's still fighting to create a better world in memory of those lost.

He hopes others will do the same.

"We are a community, we are neighbors and it doesn't matter if you're straight or gay or trans or gender diverse," Jones said. "We are all human beings. We take care of each other, regardless of a label, because it's just a label." 

Jones plans to return to Waco soon to help create a transgender support group.

Cervantes hopes more people join them for next year's service.

"I hope people come and show their love for this community, it needs a lot of love," Cervantes said. "It is sad, but that's why we're here, to acknowledge that sadness and to learn from it and to deepen our lives because of it." 

For more information on Trans-Cendence, click here

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