28th September 2019 is a day that will be marked in history as USA’s first-ever National Trans Visibility March. It took place this weekend in Washington D.C. Furthermore, hundreds and thousands of transgenders took over the streets to fight for their community.
What do they want to achieve? Safety, Dignity and Equality.
Over the years, pride parades and LGBTQ marches have paved the way for progress for the community. From civil rights to change in outlook within society, the LGBTQIA+ community has achieved great progress. However, some parts of the community continue to stagger. One such community is that of the transgender people. There are issues that continue to pose as obstacles for the transgender community.
According to Advocate, the transgender community “continues to be one of the most vulnerable and marginalized communities in the United States”. Transgenders all around the nation have now decided to no longer tolerate discrimination and marginalisation. They too seek equality, government support and rights from healthcare to employment. They can no longer treat them as second-class citizens, and this march says just that. It is a march that is fighting for their visibility. It is a march demanding recognition and support.
Related Reading: Transgender man Loses Court Battle for Fight Of The Child He Birthed
Nation’s first Trans Visibility March:
Thousands of people, both transgenders and allies, gathered and flooded the streets of Washington D.C. this Saturday. Many came together to show opposition against the repeated attacks made by the Trump administration on trans rights. Others wanted to raise awareness against the violence experienced by the trans community for eons. The trans women of colour or TWOC, also took center stage at the ‘first of it’s kind’ march. The organisers told Washington Blade,
“Members of the transgender and gender non-conforming communities will take a major stand against hate and discrimination when they rally in the nation’s capital for the first-ever National Trans Visibility March on Washington.”
Diversity in the trans community:
The March began with a rally. The rally was two hours long spanning from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Freedom Plaza. Out of the 14 prominent trans and LGBTQ advocate speakers at the rally, 11 of them were people of colour. Furthermore, among these speakers was Angelica Ross, an actress, trans rights advocate, and businesswoman. Have a look at what happened at the rally.
— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) September 28, 2019
One of the largest banners at the march had this message written in caps, “How many of us have to die for you to get involved?”. In an interview with Washington Blade, Marissa Miller, the national organising director for the march explained the need for such a march. Being a black, transgender woman living with HIV, she said
“The march and related events will also focus on the dangers faced by transgender people in their daily lives as demonstrated by at least 18 and possibly more murders of transgender women in the U.S. so far this year who were believed to have been targeted because of their gender identity and expression. Seventeen of those 18 were trans women of color.”
Alphonso David, president of Human Rights Campaign was also part of the panel of speakers. Others included Carter Brown, Founder and Executive director of Black Trans Men Inc., and Bamby Salcedo, founder of TransLatin@.
At the #March4TransEquality on this historic morning with so many amazing advocates & allies. We are here to come together for trans equality & to address a crisis of anti-trans violence shattering lives across this country. The time is now for action. pic.twitter.com/tP6AfMCUD7
— Alphonso David (@AlphonsoDavid) September 28, 2019
Arrangements made for the march:
According to Washington Blade, the march also arranged transportation for those who did not have the funds to travel all the way to Washington D.C.
“Many of the participants [arrived] on buses and flights arranged and paid for by a special scholarship fund set up for those who don’t have the financial means to travel to D.C.”
There were panel discussions that featured discussions around healing the community and the overcoming financial anxiety. Furthermore, people shared their stories of transitioning with their family, friends, and media.
Monica Helm, creator of the trans pride flag, and trans model Geena Roceero, who recently was named a Playboy Playmate, among others, attended the iconic and historic march.
The need of the hour
The New York Times recognised murders of the 18 transgender people as “an epidemic”. The violence against transgender people, especially those of colour, have dramatically increased. Similarly, attempts are actively made to exclude them from “jobs, public accommodations, education, the military, health care, and even homeless shelters”, as reported by The Advocate.
This march, the first of possibly many to come, is a wake-up call from the transgender community. It is a message to the United States and to the world, placing a need for change within society. Marginalising and discriminating the trans community should become a thing of the past. Government support, visibility, and equality should become the agenda for the future.
Source Credit: Advocate, LGBTQ Nation, The New York Times, Out Magazine, Washington Blade