Video: Islan Nettles Vigil Draws hundreds

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Islan Nettles
#JusticeforIslan

Vaughn Taylor-Akutagawa, the leader of Gay Men of African Descent, spoke at the vigil and referred to Nettles as “he.”

“She was a woman!” shouted Mariah Lopez, a transgender activist who told The Huffington Post that she asked to speak at the vigil and was turned down by organizers. “Gay Men Of African Descent shouldn’t be speaking for trans people, period.”

“What the trans community needs to hear is that our lives matter ” .@Lavernecox at tonight’s vigil for Islan Nettles pic.twitter.com/3exi58fOZy
— AVP (@antiviolence) August 27, 2013

Vaughn Taylor-Akutagawa, the leader of Gay Men of African Descent, spoke at the vigil and referred to Nettles as “he.”

“She was a woman!” shouted Mariah Lopez, a transgender activist who told The Huffington Post that she asked to speak at the vigil and was turned down by organizers. “Gay Men Of African Descent shouldn’t be speaking for trans people, period.”

“My girlfriend died last year and the year before,” Lopez continued, over the speaker on the stage. “And none of you came, none of you!”

Taylor-Akutagawa said on Wednesday that working with the transgender community at a vigil like this is “still a learning process for me.”

“We do our best to include them, but what wasn’t being effectively communicated yesterday is that the family determined who was going to speak, and why,” he said.

Read more at Huffpost and Pix11.com

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Kelli, Busey is managing editor at Planet Transgender

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