Organizers in Pittsburgh have coordinated a vigil for Andi Woodhouse, the 24-year-old trans man who died by suicide in mid-December. The vigil begins at 2 PM. Details:
On Saturday, December 13, 2014, 24-year-old Andi Woodhouse died by suicide near the 10th Street Bridge in Pittsburgh. Andi was a trans man from Lebanon, PA. We will be holding a vigil for him on the 10th st bridge. We are meeting in the south side on the corner of carson and 10th street. Bring signs, candles, flowers or anything that you’d like. We will have a megaphone if there’s anyone that would like to talk about their experiences. Come out in support of Andi’s sister and friends. And come in support of all trans folks, those alive, and to remember those who are no longer with us. There will be two counselors at the vigil that will be available for emotional support as well.
Andi’s sister, Ashley, and some of his friends from Lebanon will be traveling to Pittsburgh for this vigil. They have never been to Pittsburgh.
Please note that this vigil will be at the location where Andi died. That might be emotionally tough if you are a survivor or have lost someone to suicide. There is nothing the least bit romantic or heartfelt or peaceful about the location – it is a raw spot, right over the Parkway East. It will also be filled with traffic heading to the Steelers Playoff Game in full celebratory mode. I’m not saying that to scare you away, but simply to ask you to be very conscious of a decision to participate. Vigils can be difficult under less stressful circumstances. Bring some support for you so you can support others. We need to take care of each other.
That being said, I do think it important to show up to support Andi’s family and friends as well as the larger trans community. We’ve lost 3 young people in December alone including Leelah Alcorn and 22-year-old trans man Jay Ralko in Michigan. We lost over a dozen trans women of color in 2014. 34-year-old Andre Gray, an openly gay man of color, has been missing in Pittsburgh since October.
Please keep them all in your thoughts and do all that you can to prevent others from experiencing similar fates. Join an organization, sign a petition, find out the policies of trans inclusion in your school district. Call your General Assembly members. Ask questions, read articles, and look around you. It is on you to create the space where Leelah, Andi and Jay should be growing up and becoming the wonderful adults they were meant to be.
There are many ways to show up. What will you choose?
If you need support, please reach out to the GLBT National Hotline (888-843-4564). LGBTQ youth can call the Trevor Project Hotline (866-488-7386) and transgender people can utilize the Transgender Helpline (855-345-8464) and Trans Life Line 18775658860.
In Pittsburgh, these resources and more are available. Please reach out.
- Gay and Lesbian Community Center 412-422-0114
- Persad Center (412) 441-9786
- TransPride Pittsburgh (an umbrella group connected with many local trans organizations)