Dubuque's first Transgender Day of Remembrance celebrated - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Dubuque's first Transgender Day of Remembrance celebrated

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -

Transgender Day of Remembrance is a day that occurs annually to remember those who have been killed as a result of transphobia -- but in Dubuque, it's also a time when people can learn about the community.

Transphobia is the hatred or fear of transgender people.

The day is celebrated internationally on Nov. 20, and Wednesday evening it was celebrated in Dubuque at Mindframe Theaters. This is the first year Dubuque has held a Transgender Day of Remembrance.

Rachael Ferraro is a transgender woman in Dubuque. She says the transgender community is often misunderstood.

"People think that we are just people who dress up for a while and go home and change back into whatever clothes," Ferraro said. "Well, in actuality, we are people who live this way 24/7 -- every day."

Although the Transgender Day of Remembrance is a day to remember those who have been killed, Ferraro says she hopes it's also a day to help teach others more about the transgender community.

"It's kind of a somber day, but I think the first time having this here in Dubuque, it seems that we want to bring out more what the transgender community is here in Dubuque," Ferraro said.

Ferraro says the transgender community in Dubuque is currently very protected.

"The transgender community here in Dubuque is very, very protected, I would say," she said. "They do hide who they are."

The Transgender Day of Remembrance in Dubuque is also seen as a way to help Dubuque become a more welcoming community.

In October, the city of Dubuque launched Inclusive Dubuque, an initiative looking to do just that -- become a more welcoming and well-connected place, especially when it comes to retaining newcomers.

"Dubuque's changing, given that we are trying to be a more inclusive and diverse community," said Manisha Paudel, a human relations specialist for the City of Dubuque. "We want to be prepared for the current residents that have identified or may identify in the future, and for the ones that are coming to Dubuque in the future."

Lynn Sutton, a member of the Dubuque City Council, agreed.

"It's another part of the acceptance of everyone," Sutton said. "Sometimes we as humans get troubled as to who is everyone. 'Everyone' can be seen as everyone who is like us, and 'everyone' can be seen as everyone who is not like us.

"But as being part of Inclusive Dubuque, it is about everyone," she added. "Inclusively means that everyone is at the table and having fun with everybody and enjoying themselves. That is what we are striving to do and sometimes we have to take baby steps, but we have to keep moving forward."

Ferraro hopes events like the Transgender Day of Remembrance in Dubuque will help Dubuque become even more transgender-friendly.

"What would be great here in Dubuque is if people could not point fingers at us when we are walking by," Ferraro said. "If they could not snicker, turn their heads and laugh. If we could just be accepted as another group of people here in Dubuque."

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