THE TRANSGENDER flag will be hoisted outside Southend Civic Centre to honour the memory of a transgender woman who was killed.

Transgender Day of Remembrance is an annual observance on November 20 to commemorate transgender people who lost their lives in acts of anti-transgender violence.

It was started in 1999 by transgender advocate Gwendolyn Ann Smith after Rita Hester, a transgender woman was killed in 1998.

The vigil is to commemorate all the transgender people who have lost their lives to anti-LGBT violence since Rita Hester’s death.

Ali Griffin, chief executive at Southend Council, said: “We have a large and vibrant trans community in Southend and I welcome this opportunity to come together and remember those across the world who have lost their lives as a result of hate and bigotry.

“Raising the flag is a symbol of our solidarity with our trans community, united in hope for a more accepting, tolerant and compassionate world where everyone can live peacefully as themselves.”

Anette Basham, chair of Transpire, a voluntary community group supporting people who identify as trans, said: “Transgender hate crime incidents reported to police have risen by 81 per cent.

“These figures are likely to represent just the tip of the iceberg as Stonewall’s research indicates four in five anti-LGBT hate crimes go unreported.

“It is vitally important that organisations and individuals take a visible stance against transphobic prejudice and support trans people in the face of such widespread abuse.”

The informal ceremony will take place at 11am on November 20. The Mayor of Southend, John Lamb, will be attending before raising the flag at the ceremonial flagpole by the Civic Centre north car park.

Everyone is welcome to attend.