UEA students gathered in the Square on Monday evening to pay their respects at a vigil to mark Transgender Day of Remembrance.

Attendees were handed candles to remember all those who have been killed across the globe for being transgender.

The day was founded in 1999 following the murder of a transgender woman, Rita Hester, in Massachusetts.

The annual event was introduced by SU LGBT+ (Trans and Non-Binary Place) Officer Liam Deary.

Two speakers, local activist Katy John Went and UEA student Evie Thomas, spoke at the event.

Katy Went spoke about the ongoing prejudice trans people face, citing shocking statistics and examples of damaging media coverage.

She said: “Trans people’s lives are already under a microscope as part of their transition pathway, but to be so in the media spotlight too puts their private and social lives up for involuntary discussion and invasive dissection.

“The conflation of sex with gender and/or sexuality is an issue needing better education to better understand people’s authentic ‘born this way’ identities.

“Don’t scapegoat us as perverts and rapists. Don’t harm us and kill us. Instead, be allies, support us to be ourselves, and let’s bring these murder, abuse, and suicide rates down next year.”

Evie Thomas said that “people don’t get murdered for no reason,” reflecting on the “systemic failure on the parts of political institutions and social institutions who treat trans people as lesser human beings, second-class human beings and it’s not ok, it’s something that we need to change.

“No matter who you are and what you identify as, thank you for being here and showing your support for trans people… There is hope that this can get better and we can do something about it. We’re sick of trans people being murdered for who they are, we’re sick of trans people being murdered because the media tells us [they] are some kind of freak. If we push that message, we can make a difference.”

Following speeches, students observed a minute’s silence before placing their candles around a transgender flag in a show of solidarity.

Writing on his official Facebook page, Liam Deary said: “It was really moving to see so many people come out in support of the trans community.”

After UEA’s event, a group travelled from the university into Norwich to attend a vigil in front of the Forum, attended by the city’s Lord Mayor.

UEA: TV live streamed the event on their Facebook page, to more than 350 views.