HATTIESBURG, MS (WLOX) - Friends of Dee Whigham, the transgender woman murdered at a Jackson County hotel, gathered for a vigil in her hometown of Hattiesburg Tuesday. Many tears were shed as friends of Whigham talked about the beautiful person she was and the authentic life she lived.
"She was just lovely, and you couldn't not smile when you saw her. She just lit up a room. And it was devastating when I heard that news, just a lovely light extinguished," said a coworker at Forrest General Hospital.
About 30 people crowded into the Spectrum Center for the vigil. Many of them did not know Dee, but wanted to lend their support to those who did. Several of her coworkers from Forrest General Hospital were in attendance and had nothing but kind words to say.
"She taught me a lot about forgiveness, about being a friend. We're all at a loss for words. Work will never be the same, A.T. will never be the same. Forrest General will never be the same," said a coworker.
Along with remembering her life, LGBTQ advocates talked about the hurt they feel every time a crime like this is committed against a member of their community.
"It just shows that hate and the seed of hate just grows and grows and then people just lose their life in an instant, not because of them, but because someone else hated them," said an LGBTQ advocate.
Another vigil is scheduled for Wednesday night in Biloxi at Lighthouse Community Church at 7 p.m.