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West Hollywood to recognize Transgender Day of Remembrance

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Transgender people killed "in acts of hatred and violence" will be recognized in West Hollywood on Wednesday as the city observes the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance. 

Members of the West Hollywood Transgender Advisory Board -- one of the only municipal transgender boards in the country -- will read the names and short biographies of transgender people around the world who were murdered over the last year. 

"My story is not a sad story; my story, our story, will be remembered by trans youth…sadly, this is not the case for so many brothers and sisters out there," said Mariana Marroquin, a member of the transgender advisory board, at its meeting earlier this month. 

"There are many trans brothers and sisters out there suffering…all we need is a chance, a chance to let others see what we are capable of," she said. 

The Transgender Day of Remembrance, recognized worldwide, began as a vigil recognizing transgender people killed in violent acts following the 1998 murder of Rita Hester, a transgender activist in her native Boston, according to the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. Hester was stabbed 20 times in her apartment, according to GLAAD. 

The Trans Murder Monitoring project by Transgender Europe shows that from January 2008 to April 2013, more than 1,200 transgender people have been reported murdered in 59 countries, with many more going unreported. 

West Hollywood has hosted numerous events for the transgender community this month, dubbing the month Transgender Awareness Month and flying the white, pink and blue transgender flag on a City Hall flagpole for the entire month. 

Many of the members of the Transgender Advisory Board were emotional during the board's last meeting, held in the wood-paneled City Council chambers and televised. They were honored, they said, to be recognized. 

Maria Carmen Hinayon, a member of the board and a UCLA Law School student, used the televised meeting as an opportunity to tell young transgender people to stay strong.

"I experienced homelessness and poverty and unemployment and was a victim of violence and discrimination," she said. "But I am here now. Stay strong, and we are here for you."

The West Hollywood Transgender Day of Remembrance event will begin with a reception at 6:30 p.m., with the event following at 7 at the West Hollywood Library's auto court at 625 N. San Vicente Blvd. 

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hailey.branson@latimes.com

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