CHICAGO — Three LGBTQ+ groups paid tribute to transgender and gender non-conforming people who lost their lives due to violence and discrimination this year. 

The organizations co-hosted an event in the West Loop on Sunday to honor the memories of those lost and uplift the community ahead of Transgender Day of Remembrance on Monday.

“It’s also a time for us to remember our fallen trans siblings this year,” said Jae Rice from Brave Space Alliance, a Black and trans-led LGBTQ center on the South Side.

It was over a decade ago when Rice said he became his true self. 

“There’s a lot of misinformation and There’s a lot of bigotry that’s been emboldened lately, so this is why we have events like this, so that people can see the humanity in us and to see that we actually have a community that loves and supports and cares for each other,” Rice said. 

Sunday’s event celebrated those who are thriving and honored the long list of transgender people who have lost their lives. 

Among those honored was Lisa Love Turman, who was shot and killed in Chicago last month. 

“Personally this has been a rough year for me with having two trans people that I’ve known personally get murdered here in Chicago,” said Zahara Bassett from Life is Work, a black & brown trans women-led social services organization.

Bassett has worked to become a leader in this space, joining several other trans-led organizations in Chicago to host the event and honor those who have died this year.

“Suicide rates on here, I started noticing, are starting to climb,” Bassett said. “People are literally not feeling welcomed and not feeling that they are part of society.”

The Chicago Therapy Collective, a nonprofit that promotes LGBTQ+ mental health & well-being, also helped organize Sunday’s event which detailed the hard truths of marginalized communities, while lifting them up. 

“You are loved, you are somebody and you are welcome to come home,” Bassett said.