To start, I would like to make a special thank you to Kara for all her hard work. She works tirelessly for the transgender, child, and newbie communities in SL. She is one of those rare people you meet here that truly shines, and I am proud to call her my friend.
I'd like to thank everyone involved in the Transgender Suicide Memorial for creating this place and organising today, to all those who volunteer there time at the Transgender Resource Centre and the Transgender Lounge for all the hard work they put in, day in and day out.
For many of us, the virtual and online communities are all we have to keep in touch with people with similar daily struggles and difficulties.
Everyone of us faces a daily gauntlet of a very personal nature. Depression, anxiety, low self esteem, lack of confidence, or just plain confusion at the daunting task of understanding what gender identity means to us individually.
When I first faced the question of gender I didn't dare hope, and fear of failure kept me alive.
When SL broke the walls in my mind down and forced me to confront the question 15 years later, I lost everything and more painfully, everyone. I came as close to suicide as you can and still walk away. I had nothing to lose, so why not try.
For many of us this path is a tight rope we are forced to walk everyday of our lives, a feat that some days can border on the impossible.
But if you have one friend, one supporter, one mentor, one guiding light who will put there rope next to yours and walk arm in arm with you. It can give you the hope to make it through another day.
It is on this day we remember those who have fallen and those who were pushed away or assaulted. We remember their families, loved ones and friends.
We remember them and their lives and struggles, what they stood for and what they meant to us.
I lost a friend a couple of years ago and promised I would keep her memory alive. She has been the motivation for my involvement in the Transgender Resource Centre, and in starting the Transgender Lounge this year.
If one person, just one, is helped to overcome the difficulties we all face everyday, then for me, Kelise didn't die for nothing.
Sometimes just knowing you're not alone makes the world a seem a far less scary place.
Thank you all for coming here and for taking the time to remember and to listen.