“I pray to see the day when these events are no longer needed,” Zina Mae said to a gathering of over 50 people Monday evening during a Transgender Day of Remembrance service at All Souls Church, 640 Centre Ave.
“No one should feel frightened about leaving their own home just because of how they’re dressed, how they present themselves, or who they’re with in public,” the 60-year-old transgender woman from rural Berks County said.
“Many people relate violence with big cities, but it can be just as scary living in a small, extremely conservative community like I do,” Mae said.
The service honored the 63 victims of transphobic violence in the United States over the past year with a reading of their names along with a short biography followed by a lighting of a candle in their memory.
“We have members of our trans community right here at home in Reading and in Berks County who don’t feel safe leaving their homes or who may not be safe with their families to be who they are,” Enrique Castro Jr., the executive director of the Reading Pride Celebration, said in his opening remarks.
“And that is where it is our job beyond tonight, all year long to provide that safe and welcoming environment for our siblings,” Castro said.
Choir members from the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Berks County provided musical interludes throughout the service with soloist Kimberly Kalbach Rubendall offering the closing song.
“While we remember these names and we celebrate their lives,” Castro concluded. “What is just as important is what we do after we leave here and what we take with us.
“The best way to honor the dead is to support and protect the living.”
Source: Berkshire mont