Grand Divisions

Tennessee Equality Project seeks to advance and protect the civil rights of our State’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons and their families in each Grand Division.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Candlelight Vigil for Duanna Johnson and Transgender Day of Remembrance in Memphis

The Midsouth Peace and Justice Center, the Women's Action Coalition, the Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center, First Congregational Church, and the Shelby County Committee of TEP will hold a Candlelight Vigil on Sunday, November 16 at 6 PM to remember the life of Duanna Johnson who was tragically murdered earlier this week. All concerned citizens are invited to participate to show solidarity with the transgender community and pay respects to Johnson.

While the exact details and circumstances of Johnson’s murder are still under investigation, her murder calls attention to the epidemic of violence directed at transgender citizens in Memphis, particularly those who are African American. The flag outside the Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center at 892 South Cooper St. currently flies at half-mast in remembrance of Johnson. The vigil ceremony will begin at the flagpole in front of MGLCC at 6 PM on Sunday followed by a short procession by candle light to First Congregational Church down the street.

The family of Duanna Johnson is unable to cover all of the expenses for a proper funeral. The Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition has set up a Paypal account to help defray the cost's of Duanna's funeral and burial in order to more safely secure donations. Their website ( explains how the money will be distributed.

The Shelby County Committee of TEP also encourages community participation in the annual Memphis Transgender Day of Remembrance on Saturday, Nov. 22 at 4 PM at Tom Lee Park. This event is sponsored by Perpetual Transition - a safe, confidential, and friendly Memphis-based support, discussion, and social group for transgender people of all varieties, including but not limited to transsexuals (regardless of transition status), intersex people, crossdressers, and genderqueers. This year, we gather especially to remember Tiffany Berry, Ebony Whitaker, Dre'Ona Blake, and Duanna Johnson. Contact Casey at for more information.

Anyone with information on Duanna Johnson's homicide is urged to call Crime Stoppers at 901-528-CASH or the MPD's homicide bureau at 901-545-5300.

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