Jessica Dempsey holding a copy of the City of Fernie's proclamation recognizing the Transgender Day of Remembrance in 2020. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)

Fernie recognizes Trans Day of Remembrance

Mayor Qualizza read a proclamation recognizing the day, and a flag was raised at City Hall

The City of Fernie has officially recognized the international Transgender Day of Remembrance, with Mayor Ange Qualizza reading a proclamation at City Hall on Friday morning (Nov. 20), when a Transgender flag was raised to commemorate the day.

“It really brings me a lot of joy that council has decided to participate in this today,” said Mayor Qualizza. “I don’t think there’s a more important time to talk about tolerance and inclusion and being mindful of everyone that lives here.”

Jessica Dempsey, who had asked the city to recognize the day said that it was a amazing that the City of Fernie was so supporting of Transgender rights and issues.

“I’d really like to thank the City of Fernie for bringing this forward and accepting this, its a huge honor to see the flag flying. We are making progress across the country.”

Due to the November 19 public health recomendations, the flag raising was attended by only representatives from the City of Fernie and Dempsey.

Dempsey made a speech recounting some of her experiences and thoughts on the meaning of the day, which is held on November 20 each year around the world.

“I would like to say that the Transgender Day of Remembrance is a happy day, but in many ways it isn’t, because we honour those who aren’t here with us anymore, and also we do honour that there’s a lot of survivors.

“Transpersons face disproportionate amounts of discrimination in Canada the United States and around the world, in particular individuals who belong to the BIPOC (Black, Indigeous and People of Colour) community.”

Dempsey, who is originally from Nova Scotia but has lived in Fernie since 2019, said that the Fernie community was very welcoming and the City had enthusiastically supported her request for the flag raising.

“Everybody deserves the right to be their authentic selves. If people can’t be their authentic self, we lose out. We lose out on diversity and inclusion, we lose out on the best talent because people hold back.”

READ MORE: Rainbow Foundation of Hope comes to Fernie Pride
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Fernie Mayor Ange Qualizza, Councillor Troy Nixon and Jessica Dempsey watch as the Transgender flag is raised outside City Hall in Fernie on the Transgender Day of Remembrance, 2020. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)