Wrangell’s LGBT group Community Roots hosted a vigil for the global transgender day of remembrance on Nov. 20,
2017. (Jill Privett/KSTK)

Yesterday was the global day of remembrance for those murdered from anti-transgender hate crimes. 25 transgender people have been murdered so far in 2017 in the U.S., according to research from the Human Rights Campaign. And these numbers are increasing.

The local LGBT group, Community Roots, took part in the global day of remembrance. Right now, the group has less than ten members. Eli Michael is a founding member of the group.

“It’s a chance to recognize all those that were lost. To bring awareness to the heightened hate crimes violence, discrimination and bullying that transgender and gender non-conforming folks face on a daily basis.”

Michael moved to Wrangell a year and a half ago. He had just graduated from University of Alaska Anchorage where he was involved in LGBT education and advocacy.

“And when I moved to this island there was nothing. No LGBT group, no support. And not very many people that were out and about, at least publicly.”

So he started the LGBT group.

“Our main focus is to get the awareness out the visibility the education be that pillar of support for others that may not be out for different reasons.”

The group started the beginning of this year. Since then, it’s held an equality march and monthly meetings for those who identify as LGBT in Wrangell.

“I think it is one of the friendliest communities in Alaska. And as a member of LGBT community I’ve felt nothing but support here. I’ve just heard stories of other people not always receiving support.”

Michael hopes to host a LGBT film series and a drag show down the road.