Mansfield Community Holds Transgender Visibility Vigil

  • 3/21/2019 8:16:50 PM
  • Jesse Smith
  • Local News

MANSFIELD, OH - On Thursday evening, Mansfield community members gathered at Central Park in the Downtown area to participate in a candlelight vigil for transgender visibility. The vigil was organized by members of the Mansfield Gay Pride Association and is a locally-focused companion to the International Transgender Day of Visibility.

"As a community, we need to make sure that in our fight for equality that everybody has equal rights, everybody has the chance to love who they love, work where they want to work, use a restroom that they identify with, and have that support," said Todd Rice, President of the Mansfield Gay Pride Association. "As we grow, we need to make sure that our trans brothers and sisters are not left behind. I think it's very important for us to show that support - to come out as a community, and let everybody know that we're here for them."

The program began with speeches by Rice and his associate Kelli Quail, who is the head of the transgender community support group within the Mansfield Gay Pride Association. As the speeches ended, those in attendance lit candles and observed a moment of silence. After the program, audience members hugged and socialized with each other, introducing themselves and sharing their experiences with one another.

Allies who were not in attendance can show their support in several ways, according to Rice.

"If you see a transgender person out in public, give them the same acknowledgment as you would anybody else," Rice said. "If they're being bullied, stick up for them. Go up to them and say, 'I support you. I see you for who you are and I accept you for who you are.' You can get involved with local community groups that do support the trans community. There are several things you can try and do to get active in the community to help support whomever you choose to, but the trans community needs it."

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