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City 'Will Step Up' to Protect Trans Rights, Human Rights Commissioner Vows

By Katie Honan | November 21, 2016 4:01pm
 The rally denounced violence in the trans community.
The rally denounced violence in the trans community.
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DNAinfo/Katie Honan

ELMHURST — The city's commissioner of human rights vowed to continue to protect citizens' rights as dozens gathered for a candlelight vigil during the Trans Week of Remembrance.

The vigil, which remembered the 26 transgender and gender-diverse people murdered between October 2015 and September 2016, brought together the trans and LGBTQ community as many are feeling more vulnerable after the election, Carmelyn P. Malalis, the Commissioner of the New York City Commission on Human Rights, said.

"Here in New York City, you all had rights before this weekend happened, you will continue to have rights after this week has happened," she told the crowd, who gathered at Manuel De Dios Unanue Triangle on Nov. 17.

This year is the first time the Trans Day of Remembrance was expanded to include a full week of events, which took place from Nov. 14 to Nov. 20.

"It's equally as important for us to be there with you and for you, and we're remembering how people are affected by discrimination and harassment."

The Rev. Dennis Camacho began the ceremony with a moment of reflection, commending those in attendance who "brought us forward."

"Even under the pressure of physical pain, of torture, of economic pressures, desperation or woes," he said.

Malalis said later that her office received calls from throughout the trans community, which includes many immigrants.

The commission added an information landing page to their site which includes resources for immigrants, and they've been monitoring an uptick in harassment and bias cases, she said. 

"There's still so much we don't know," she said, but noted Trump's vow to deport up to 3 million undocumented immigrants. There has also been an increase in hate crimes across the city.

"If the need is higher, we will step up to meet that need," she said.