On Thursday evening, Pride Center San Antonio will hold the second annual Transgender Day of Remembrance Memory Walk to commemorate the lives of the 24 transgender individuals who have been killed in the U.S. so far this year. The half-mile walk will begin at 6 p.m. in the San Antonio College parking lot at the corner of Myrtle and Main streets and culminates in a service at the Metropolitan Community Church at 7 p.m.

Violence against the transgender community is already on track to outpace last year’s statistics, according to the Human Rights Council. In 2015, 21 transgender individuals were killed.

Pride Center San Antonio Executive Director Robert Salcido told the Rivard Report Wednesday afternoon that discriminatory or violent behavior against transgender individuals often stems from fear of the unknown.

“Ultimately, transgender individuals are misunderstood. A lot of people just don’t know a trans person,” he said. “And what they don’t know they fear. This produces acts of violence. And the current political climate doesn’t help. Trans individuals are being (portrayed) as less than human. They’re depicted as a negative in our society from sports to bathrooms.”

The event aims to bring awareness to a situation that isn’t getting a lot of attention, he added, and presents an opportunity to gain supporters and allies.

“Last year, we initiated the walk to bring greater awareness to the situation. These murders are happening all throughout the country and not all of us are aware of it,” Salcido said. “People who come can expect to learn the names of those who have passed. They will also learn what loving, caring individuals that trans people are. They are your coworkers, friends, family, people you go to church with.”

More so than transgender murders, the recent influx in “bathroom bill” proposals in various states has been filling the nation’s headlines. Citing the safety of women and children, several State Legislatures are attempting to confine transgender individuals’ ti using bathrooms that correspond to their birth sex. North Carolina is currently the only state that has such a law on its books, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, but several states – including Texas – will consider this type of legislation in next year’s session. Critics call this type of law discriminatory and unfounded in reality.

To learn more about Pride Center San Antonio and the walk, click here.

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James McCandless

Former intern James McCandless is a recent St. Mary's University graduate. He has worked with the San Antonio Current and Texas Public Radio.